Foldable Devices Exciting For Early Adopters: Strategy Analytics

  • The ability to multitask will be a core selling point for foldable phones
  • Strategy Analytics feels that in-store experience will be critical for adoption of foldable devices

Samsung has started retailing its foldable smartphones in many parts of the world. Similarly, Lenovo-owned Motorola has showcased the upcoming foldable smartphone while Huawei and probably Mi will also start retailing one soon. Strategy Analytics, in one of its recent reports, has said that the acceptance of foldable devices in mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.

“The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is no. The ability of foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off,” noted Paul Brown, Director, UXIP, in the report.

It is to be noted here that Samsung is currently retailing Galaxy Fold Smartphone at a price of Rs 1,64,999 for the 12GB + 512GB variant on its India website. Lenovo-owned Motorola has recently unveiled its folding phone for pricin upwards of $ 1,500.

Exciting for early adopters but

Strategy Analytics pointing towards foldable devices as an exciting news for early adopters, also pointed out that that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost. It read, “The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.”

Christopher Dodge, associate director, UXIP and report author commented, “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.”

Need of wider folded state

As the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. The report noted that unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.

“Our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases,” added Dodge.

Adequately-demonstrated use cases

Use cases for foldable devices, as per the report, need to be adequately-demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.

“Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed,” read the report.