Gen Z, the key target for flexible phones

“Globally, Samsung reportedly sold around eight million foldable phones last year and is projected to double this by 2022,” said Chris Jager, shopping expert at comparison site Finder.

“To put that number in perspective, total phone sales in 2021 were about 1.5 billion. So it’s still a drop in the ocean compared to conventional phones.”

Telsyte’s market research suggests that foldables made up around 10 per cent of Samsung Australia’s smartphone sales during the second half of 2021. That would equate to around 162,000 units for the half.

Samsung markets the Flip4 to and with influential people.

Samsung markets the Flip4 to and with influential people.

An obvious barrier for most people is price. The Flip4 starts at $1,500 and the Fold4 $2,500. This isn’t necessarily much more than the highest of the top-end iPhone Pro or Galaxy S Ultra, but combined with the unknown form factor, it can be a tough ask.

You can get the phones on plans from the major telcos, but the absolute minimum you’ll pay for a combined Flip4 and mobile plan is $100 per month for 24 months. For the Z Fold4, it’s more like $150 per month.

Another sticking point is the software; potential buyers are not convinced that all applications work well with unconventional screen sizes.

“The Galaxy Z range still needs a must-have app, but there are definitely glimmers of potential,” said Jager.

“As the foldable market grows, you can expect more major developers to invest in dedicated apps.”

Phones have been getting better and better ever since the original Fold received some lukewarm reactions in 2019, and Samsung has also been known to give deep discounts to staff at stores like JB Hi-fi, putting new and improved devices on the front burner. to people who are likely to recommend phones to others.

The Flip4's cover screen displays notifications or camera previews.

The Flip4’s cover screen displays notifications or camera previews.

Anisha Bhatia, a senior analyst at GlobalData, said that Samsung has become increasingly strong in foldable devices.

“Samsung is on its fourth generation of foldable phones, with solid improvements with each iteration and an effort to make prices acceptable to consumers,” he said.

“The Z Flip4 is more for the same price. The Flip series has already brought foldable phones to the main stage, and [pre-order offers] it will only help consumer adoption.”

In fact, Samsung has once again secured some strong incentives to order foldable phones early this year. Any pre-order before August 31st comes with a free storage upgrade (for example, if you pay the price for a 128GB phone, you get the 256GB model), and then there are additional incentives at each of the major carriers. of telecommunications.

Placing an order on Telstra gets customers a free Galaxy Watch 5 valued at up to $649, and Optus is giving away $529 worth of Samsung tablets. Meanwhile, Vodafone is offering a $160 wireless charger, but also a bonus of up to $700 credit if you trade in your old (but not too old) phone.

“Phones with foldable screens continue to whet consumer appetites in a stagnant smartphone market,” Bhatia said, noting that the only real rival to Samsung’s phones was the significantly less powerful Lenovo-made Motorola Razer. .

“Apple is completely absent in this segment and the problems with Huawei’s smartphones have forced it to take a backseat. Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi have barely scratched the surface of this market. With virtually no viable competitor, this category is wide open for Samsung to carve out.”

The company has resolved its hardware issues and shows promise in terms of software support. It’s pitching strong propositions to trendsetters and power users alike, and increasing the visibility of its foldable offerings. The only thing that remains to be determined is whether regular users actually find any use in phones that fold.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung Australia thinks they will, and that this generation of phones will be the ones to take the foldables mainstream.

“Signals of adoption are steadily growing from the volume of foldable devices in the wild, increasing consumer online search trends, indication of purchase intent, app optimization and more,” said Vice President Garry McGregor.

Charging

“We know that consideration of foldables has doubled among 18-45 year olds and Gen Z specifically, showing a colossal 273 percent increase from last year.”

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