Foldable Phones Unfold Opportunity, Erode Apple’s Premium Market Share in 2023

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The once-unassailable throne of Apple in the premium smartphone market (>$600) wobbled slightly in 2023, as innovative foldable phones chipped away at its dominance. While Apple retained the top spot with a 71% share, down from 75% the previous year, the shift signifies a growing consumer appetite for the unique functionalities offered by foldable devices.

Key Highlights:

  • Apple retains top spot in the premium smartphone market (>$600) but share dips from 75% to 71% in 2023.
  • Foldable phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Z series and Huawei’s Mate Xs 2 drive market growth in the premium segment.
  • Huawei’s resurgence in China and Xiaomi’s gains contribute to Apple’s market share decline.
  • Premium smartphone market expected to grow 6% year-over-year in 2023 despite overall market struggles.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5, released in summer 2023, proved particularly successful, propelling the Korean tech giant’s premium market share up by 1%. Huawei’s impressive comeback in China, fueled by the Mate Xs 2 foldable, also contributed to Apple’s decline, with the Chinese company experiencing a 2% increase in premium market share. Xiaomi, another foldable phone player, saw a similar 1% market share gain.

“There has been a shift in consumer buying patterns in the smartphone market,” explains Varun Mishra, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research. “Considering the importance a smartphone holds, consumers are willing to spend more to get a high-quality device that they can use for a longer period. Foldables, with their larger screens and unique form factors, are catering to this demand and emerging as a differentiator in the premium market.”

Foldable phones offer several advantages over traditional smartphones. Their ability to unfold into tablet-sized screens makes them ideal for multitasking, content consumption, and even light productivity tasks. Additionally, their compact size when folded makes them convenient for carrying around.

Despite the challenges to Apple’s dominance, the premium smartphone market itself is expected to grow by 6% year-over-year in 2023. This stands in contrast to the overall smartphone market, which has been facing headwinds due to economic uncertainty and saturation.

“The premium segment is more resilient to market downturns,” says Mishra. “Consumers in this segment are less price-sensitive and are more willing to invest in the latest and greatest technology. This, coupled with the continued appeal of foldables, is driving growth in the premium market.”

Looking ahead, the battle for supremacy in the premium smartphone market is likely to intensify. Apple is expected to respond to the foldable challenge with its own device in the coming years, potentially in 2024. Meanwhile, Samsung and Huawei are expected to continue innovating in the foldable space, while other players like Xiaomi and Oppo are also vying for a slice of the pie.

The foldable phone revolution is still in its early stages, but its impact on the premium smartphone market is undeniable. In 2023, it chipped away at Apple’s lead, and in the years to come, it has the potential to reshape the entire landscape of mobile technology.

About the author


James Miller

Senior writer & Rumors Analyst, James is a postgraduate in biotechnology and has an immense interest in following technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. He is responsible for handling the office staff writers and providing them with the latest updates happenings in the world of technology. You can contact him at