What happened: Despite the buzz surrounding foldable phones, market research firm Gartner expects that they will “remain a niche product” through the next five years, reaching 30 million units by 2023. Garner analysts estimates that amount will account for 5% of high-end phones in the global smartphone market, given a number of factors such as manufacturing challenges and price barriers. “Priced at $2,000, foldable phones present too many trade-offs even for many early technology adopters,” research director Roberta Cozza wrote in the report.
Why it’s important: Foldable phones are setting trends in the global smartphone market after top phone makers showed off their folding models at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. Samsung plans to put its $2,000 Galaxy Fold on sale at the end of April, while Huawei’s Mate X is now listed on its official online store earlier this week. Gartner’s report offers a cautious outlook for the segment in the short term, though Chinese manufacturers take a more positive view. An executive from BOE, Huawei’s screen vendor, expects market prices for foldable phones could lower to RMB 10,000 (around $1,490) by 2021 as material costs decline over time, reported Chinese media on Tuesday.