IDC forecast worldwide foldable phone shipments to reach 41.5 million in 2026, triple the 13.5 million units predicted for 2022, as product evolution begins to spur consumer interest.

The company noted its 2022 forecast would be 66.6 per cent higher than the 8.1 million units shipped in 2021. IDC counts flip phones alongside foldables in its figures.

IDC noted there is a nascent use case among business user to employ foldables as a two-in-one product combining phone and tablets. The consumer market is being spurred by high-profile devices including Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip and Fold models. “We expect the newly-updated models will outperform their predecessors and grab more consumer attention”, it stated.

Research manager Anthony Scarsella believes Samsung’s latest models “shine a spotlight on the entire category”.

He noted price remains “a pain point for consumers”, but mooted the “$999 starting price” might be more palatable in the context of broader inflationary rises.

Despite its bullish prediction on shipments growth, research director Nabila Popal does not expect foldables to “become mainstream anytime soon”.

But she argued manufacturers should not immediately drop their prices to secure market share, instead positioning foldables as a premium product and making related improvements to user experience along with moves to “increase confidence in the category and generate long-term growth”.