Samsung Announces Strong Foldable Smartphone Pre-Order Growth, DSCC Expects Samsung 2021 Foldable Smartphone Production to Rise Over 250% to >7.0M Units

Published August 30, 2021

A Samsung Electronics spokesperson told Bloomberg’s Sohee Kim that domestic pre-orders for its new foldable smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, reached 920K units in its first seven days of availability from August 17th to August 23rd. As expected, the $999 Z Flip 3 accounted for the majority of the pre-orders at around 70%. The pre-orders are impressive for Korea as they are 30% higher than Samsung’s Note 20 launch last year and 80% higher than the 2021 S21 launched this year. Samsung’s foldables have historically done well in Korea, accounting for a 52% share of 2020 shipments of the Z Flip and Z Flip 5G and a 33% share of last year’s Z Fold 2 volumes.

India is also reporting strong demand with the Z Flip 3 and Fold 3 recording 2.7X more pre-orders than the Note 20/Ultra on the first day.

Samsung’s foldable smartphone production estimates through November are shown below. As indicated, Samsung’s foldable smartphone production is way ahead of last years’ pace from July, with July a record high and August also expected to be a record high. July’s foldable smartphone production exceeded January – June combined, and August’s production exceeded January to July combined. Production is expected to exceed 1M units per month from August, so pre-orders of >1M in just one week will lead to some shipment delays. We are already hearing about delivery delays in the US, Spain, France, Germany and the UK. We expect Samsung’s total foldable smartphone production to reach 7.2M units in 2021, up 251% Y/Y.

Samsung’s Foldable Smartphone Production

Source: DSCC’s Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report
Source: DSCC’s Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report

It should be noted that Samsung is allocating a large marketing budget to promote its new foldable smartphones. As was reported earlier in the month, executives promised “a full-scale flagship marketing blitz” in the second half of the year. Samsung is rumored to be spending around $2B on its promotional efforts which is 53% of its Q3’20 mobile division operating income and 69% of its Q2’21 mobile division operating income. We will have to wait to see how it impacts its 2H’21 operating profits, but it is good to see the company aggressively promoting foldables outside of Korea. We will also be monitoring how its regional mix changes over time. Samsung is currently expecting the US to match Korea in 2021 Z Flip 3 shipments at 32% each, with the US accounting for a 29% share of Z Fold 3 shipments. Europe/ROW is expected to account for 27% of 2021 Z Flip 3 shipments and 36% of the Z Fold 3 with Korea accounting for a 28% share of Z Fold 3 shipments.

For more information on the foldable market, please see our Quarterly Foldable/Rollable Display Shipment and Technology Report.

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Written by

Ross Young