Samsung Flip et Fold : le constructeur profite de sa position hégémonique sur les smartphones pliables

Samsung Flip et Fold : le constructeur profite de sa position hégémonique sur les smartphones pliables

Samsung is doing its best to establish its dominance in the foldable smartphone market, a segment that is still nascent but growing rapidly. Four years after the launch of its first models, the Korean manufacturer announces, on Wednesday, August 10, the worldwide launch of its fourth generation of devices, with, like the previous ones, a compact version, called Galaxy Z Flip 4, and an extra-wide, Galaxy Z Fold 4.

“We created this segment in 2019, and it took time”, appreciates François Hernandez, vice president of Samsung Electronics France in charge of mobility. Global sales of foldable smartphones quadrupled in 2021, to 10 million units. This segment could still grow 73% in 2022, according to the research firm Counterpoint Research, while its colleague Strategy Analytics forecasts the sale of 75 million devices worldwide in 2025. A level, however, marginal considering the figure of 1.3 billion smartphones. sold worldwide in 2021.

Also read: We tested… the Oppo Find N, a particularly well-thought-out foldable smartphone

little competition

Inventor of the concept, with a prototype presented in 2009, Samsung crushes the competition. The South Korean owns 99% of the French folding smartphone market, but somewhat less globally, around 80%, according to Counterpoint projections for the end of 2022. Its great rival, Apple, has not launched into this niche. South Korea’s LG can’t break through, as can Motorola, the US brand of China’s Lenovo. As for its Chinese competitors, Huawei, Oppo or Xiaomi, they have retreated to their respective home markets since the 2019 US sanctions against Chinese tech companies.

The design of this type of device, different from that of a classic smartphone, if only because of the presence of a hinge between the two screens, which generates weaknesses in use, requires more research and development and its mass production. “it requires many industrial and logistical capacities”underlines François Hernandez to explain the advanced time of the Korean brand.

Also read: About the Samsung Fold and Flip, a folding screen that is fragile

Samsung is taking advantage of this competitive advantage to make its foldables, sold between 1,109 euros and 1,289 euros the Z Flip 4 and between 1,799 euros and 2,159 euros the Z Fold 4, a weapon to increase value. “In France, foldables represent 15% of our high-end smartphone sales. We intend to increase this stake to 25%.”let François Hernandez know, according to whom “even at these price levels, we know how to sell high volumes, like with the Galaxy S22”Samsung’s bestseller, “which is in the same price category”.

Price increase

This rebound in value makes it possible to counteract the erosion of the volume of the global smartphone market, which is expected to fall 3.5% in 2022, to 1,310 million units, according to the firm IDC. In France, where Samsung claims to have sold six times more foldables in the first half of 2022 than at the same time last year, this influence on prices has been noticeable since the first confinement of 2020, which led the French to redirect part of your usual spending. in leisure or outings to electronic devices. According to the GFK firm, the average price of a smartphone has increased in France from 417 euros in 2019 to 492 euros in the first half of 2022. Samsung says it is working with distribution chains to help with financing, increase subsidies and finally make your high-end smartphones more accessible to the general public.

But the manufacturer is mainly counting on the features promised by these foldable screens to appeal to a wider audience. “Foldable devices not only bring a new design to smartphones, but also more space on the screen. This aspect is growing in importance as smartphone use cases expand, especially in media, entertainment and work.”explains Jene Park, an analyst at Counterpoint Research. Samsung has also taken care of the photographic and video features of its two new devices, to adapt them to the uses of social networks.

read also Samsung Flip and Fold: is it time for smartphones with a folding screen?

A new laptop-like taskbar has been added to the Z Fold, with the ability to split the screen into three when unfolded, turning the device into a tiny computer with a 7.6-inch (about 18-centimeter) screen. Collaborations with Meta (parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and Google have been driven to adapt their applications to these folding screens. “We do not want a far-fetched effect because it would risk creating disappointment” and kill the market, recognizes François Hernandez. Hence Samsung’s desire to stay, for the time being, in expensive and high-end devices.

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