Although they are often considered the latest and most advanced in the world of telephony, foldable screen smartphones are having a hard time finding a place in the market. 2023 has closed, according to the consulting firm Counterpoint Research, with just 16 million units sold worldwide.

The figure seems respectable, but it is only 1.3% of all phones sold in the last 12 months and less than 7% of all high-end mobile phones. It is relatively low for a year in which more models than ever have been presented and at more affordable prices. Also for a market that is proving to have an appetite, although it is hard to believe, for the most expensive mobile phones.

The sale of phones over 600 euros has grown by 6% in 2023. “There has been a change in consumer purchasing patterns. Taking into account the importance of the phone in their lives, they are willing to spend more to get a device that they can use for a longer period,” explains Varun Mishra, analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Although foldables are still, in general, more expensive devices than conventional screen smartphones, in recent years the arrival of manufacturers such as Oppo, Honor, OnePlus or Xiaomi have managed to lower them considerably. Today there are several models under 1,000 euros.

But despite this, the majority of consumers consider them as an idea that may be interesting for the future but not necessarily for the present. In China, for example, almost two-thirds of high-end mobile phone buyers are considering purchasing a foldable phone as a future terminal.

Interest also seems to be growing in Europe. Last year, Samsung – which has sold almost half of those 16 million folding phones distributed in 2023 – managed to distribute more units of the Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5, its most advanced folding phones, than what it used to achieve with the Galaxy Note, which until recently was the most ambitious of all the models it presented each year. In 2022 the company announced that it would stop manufacturing the Note because the main feature, compatibility with the S-Pen smart pen, has become integrated into the Galaxy S models.

When deciding on one, most buyers cite the larger screen surface, the possibility of working on several applications at the same time and the novelty of the format as arguments. The fear of the durability and resistance of the screen remains the main fear.