Korean electronics major Samsung expects its new foldable devices Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 will enable it to capture half of the super premium smartphone segment in India, currently dominated by iPhone maker Apple.
Super premium smartphone segment comprises handsets priced above $1,000 (about Rs 82,000).
Samsung Electronics president and head of Mobile eXperience Business T M Roh said that the company aims to increase its market share to 50 percent with the launch of Galaxy Fold 5 and Galaxy Flip 5 in the super premium segment from 35 percent at present.
“In the super premium segment, the Samsung foldable has about 35 percent market share in the entire Indian market. And then now with the launch of Fold 5 and Flip 5, we are now targeting over 50 percent in the $1,000 or higher super premium segment in India,” Roh said.
According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung led the overall India market with 20 percent market share in the first quarter of 2023 and its share in the ultra premium category, which is devices above Rs 45,000 apiece, increased by 247 percent on a year-over-year basis.
However, Apple led the ultra premium segment with 62 percent market share.
Roh said that India was earlier very sensitive to innovation but it has also become very open and receptive to innovation leading to a rapid increase in demand for high-end smartphones.
“Now the India market is sensitive to innovation. It’s also very open and receptive to innovation. And also, the usage of the mobile device is also quite long. Also, another trend that we are seeing coming out of the Indian market is a very rapidly rising demand for high-end premium products,” Roh said.
The Galaxy Fold 5 is priced between Rs 1.54 lakh and Rs 1.85 lakh apiece, depending on the internal storage capacity which ranges from 256 GB to 1 TB. Samsung Galaxy Flip 5 will be available in the price range of Rs 99,999 and Rs 1,09,999 apiece.
Samsung plans to launch the most expensive and high-end devices from its stable in India on August 18.
The company will make available its Galaxy Tab S9 series in the price range of Rs 72,999 to Rs 1,33,999 apiece and Galaxy Watch 6 series at a starting price of Rs 29,999 on the same dates as its new foldable devices.
Roh said apart from the India market, Samsung is seeing growth in demand for high-end premium products in Southeast Asian markets as well as some European markets.
Samsung has launched high-end premium foldable devices at a time when there has been a decline in overall smartphone shipment globally.
Roh said that he expects the market to recover in the second half of the year.
“There are predictions that in the second half things are going to recover year-over-year. But then the pace of the recovery, perhaps, is not going to be as fast as we would hope for. But having said that, in the premium and the high-end segment, I would say that relatively speaking, the demand has been sound and in particular going into the second half of the year, we believe that there is going to be growth YoY,” he said.
Samsung has announced the manufacturing of Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 in India.
Roh said that even Samung’s tablets and smartwatches are manufactured in India.
“India also has a very important manufacturing centre for Samsung Electronics, including mobiles. We have a production subsidiary in Noida. It is from there that we produce the ultra-premier products like Fold 5 and Flip 5. Not only that, but also watches and tablets. In other words, the full global lineup is produced there to be supplied not only to the Indian market, but to the rest of the world,” Roh said.
He said that the foldable category is expected to top 30 million units of cumulative sales all over the world in 2023.
“It means that it’s going to be an important tipping point this year where the foldable category is going to become a mainstream category. I do believe that the foldable category is going to expand to other categories like the tablet and PC and continue to develop,” Roh said.
Counterpoint Research projects that global foldable smartphone shipments are projected to reach 101.5 million in 2027 from 78.6 million in 2026 and the segment will be dominated by Samsung and Apple. The firm anticipates Apple’s foldable iPhone to debut in 2025.
According to market research and analysis firm Techarc estimates, foldable (including flip) smartphones will contribute over 1.8 percent of the total smartphone revenues in 2023.
The estimate implies over 6.35 lakh foldable smartphones will be sold in India during the year, which will be less than 0.5 percent of the total sales by volume estimated for the period.