Source: EE Telecom

For years, Samsung has dominated the foldable phone market. Since the launch of the Galaxy Fold in 2019 and the Galaxy Z Flip in 2020, Samsung has consistently led the industry in foldable technology. However, in a surprising turn of events, Huawei has now taken the top spot in the first quarter of 2024.

The Rise of Huawei

Huawei’s ascent to the top of the foldable market is notable given the obstacles it has faced. U.S. sanctions previously prevented Huawei from acquiring 5G chips, limiting its foldable phones to LTE connectivity. Despite these challenges, Huawei’s innovation and strategic partnerships have paid off. Now sourcing 5G chips from China’s largest foundry, SMIC, Huawei has equipped 84% of its foldables with 5G technology. This shift has driven a remarkable 257% year-over-year increase in Huawei’s global foldable shipments in Q1 2024.

Huawei Launches New $2,600 Foldable 5G Phone to Rival Samsung - Bloomberg
Source: Bloomberg

A significant contributor to this success is Huawei’s Mate X5, their first 5G inward folding book-style foldable. Released in the third quarter of 2023, the Mate X5 has become one of the top-selling foldables in China, solidifying Huawei’s market position.

Market Shifts and Statistics

In Q1 2024, Huawei captured 35% of the global foldable market, a substantial increase from its 14% share in Q1 2023. Conversely, Samsung’s market share plummeted from 58% to 23% over the same period. This decline was influenced by a significant market shift: for the first time since 2021, book-style foldables outsold clamshell models, holding a 55%-45% lead.

Honor, another key player in the market and a former Huawei sub-unit, experienced an astonishing 460% increase in foldable shipments year-over-year. Honor’s market share in foldables rose from 3% in Q1 2023 to 12% in Q1 2024, with the Honor Magic V2 becoming the most shipped foldable phone in Western Europe.

Motorola also saw substantial growth, with a year-over-year increase in foldable shipments of 1473%. This surge gave Motorola an 11% share of the global market, driven by the success of the Razr (2023) model in North America.

Huawei goes after Samsung with foldable 5G smartphone
Source: VentureBeat

Samsung’s Outlook

Despite the setbacks, analysts expect Samsung to recover. The upcoming launch of the Galaxy Z Flip 6, scheduled for unveiling in July, is anticipated to boost Samsung’s market presence. Additionally, new clamshell foldables, including a low-priced model from Huawei, are expected to reignite interest in this category.

Huawei’s rise to the top of the foldable phone market highlights the dynamic nature of the tech industry. With significant year-over-year growth and innovative product offerings, Huawei has reshaped the competitive landscape. Meanwhile, Samsung’s anticipated new releases suggest that the battle for dominance in the foldable market is far from over. As the market continues to evolve, consumers can look forward to even more advancements and choices in foldable technology.

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Usman Kashmirwala
Your thoughts are your biggest asset in this world and as a content writer, you get a chance to pen down these thoughts and make them eternal. I am Usman Kashmirwala, apart from being a movie maniac, car geek and a secret singer, I am a guy lucky enough to be working in a profession that allows me to showcase my opinions and vision to the world every day and do my little part in making it a better place for all of us.