Why keeping the Fold range ambitious helps Samsung in more ways than one


Before Samsung unveiled a new pair of foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 at its Unpacked event last week, analysts were hoping to see an aggressive push from the South Korean giant to make this new form factor more affordable. . Although the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 are both much improved over their predecessors, they’re still not affordable enough to become mass-produced – Samsung is asking $1,800 for a Fold 4 and $1,000 for a Flip 4. But then the high prices of these foldables also lend a level of innovation and status to the Samsung brand.

Fold 4 and Flip 4 costing the same as last year’s models are proof that foldable phones continue to be niche devices, only targeting the high end of consumers. And Samsung seems pretty aware that not everyone and prices actually create exclusivity that makes phones ambitious. Interestingly, Samsung hasn’t raised foldable prices to combat higher costs.

It’s a shrewd strategy, given the competition from Apple and OnePlus in the premium segment. The S-series has always been the tour de force in the high-end smartphone space, but over the years consumer interest in Samsung’s high-end “mainstream” line of smartphones has waned. Although the launch of the Galaxy S22 Ultra earlier this year helped give this range a boost, the truth is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for a big brand like Samsung to differentiate its high-end smartphones from those of its rivals.

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a more affordable foldable phone at 9 years old. (Image credit: Shruti Dhappola/Indian Express)

High-end smartphones, no matter how saturated the market, continue to have aspirational value that rubs off across the brand. It’s not that Samsung is limiting foldable phones to high-end consumers only. The Z Flip 4 is more affordable and aimed at a wider audience, and its $1,000 price tag reflects that. Still, $1000 is a lot to pay for a phone that doesn’t drastically change the user experience and is more focused on form factor convenience.

But we can’t take away the fact that Samsung has an advantageous position in the foldable smartphone space. It now has years of experience perfecting foldable screens and massive marketing in a space its arch-rival Samsung has yet to dive into. With the likes of Motorola and Xiaomi keeping their new foldable phones limited to the Chinese market for now, Samsung is pretty much the only global phone maker with two foldable phones targeting different form factors and price points.

The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 is limited to the Chinese market. (Image credit: Xiaomi)

Market research firm IDC estimates that more than 7 million foldables were shipped in 2021. Compared to that, around 1.3 billion smartphones were sold last year. At the moment, foldable phones may seem like a small pie in the overall smartphone market, but Samsung wants its Galaxy Z line to capture at least half of the market by 2025. Maybe the plan isn’t. to sell cheaper foldable phones at all, but to keep Z Fold and Flip prices stable while attracting ambitious consumers who add value to the brand.

It comes with its own value, literally. A successful series of smartphones with a higher average selling price and margin helps the company’s bottom line in more ways than one. For example, it can help Samsung subsidize other budget segments and play there for volume. Samsung knows this strategy well.


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