Foldable devices are the long-awaited disruptors in the smartphone market, and early adopters are keen to pursue bold new devices. But the mainstream market’s acceptance of foldable devices will depend on the extent to which current barriers to adoption are resolved. After evaluating consumer demand for foldable smartphones, the latest research report released by Strategy Analytics User Experience Strategy (UXS) found that the cognitive value of the foldable form did not exceed the increased cost.
The key findings of the report include:
· For the vast majority of consumers in the United Kingdom and the United States, the idea of a smart phone with a larger portable screen is considered valuable. However, the willingness to pay extra for the foldable device is not consistent with the desire to purchase the device. Manufacturers must understand that sales can only increase after costs have fallen.
· However, as consumers’ acceptance of traditional smartphone screen sizes continues to increase, the demand for trying to use them with one hand has also increased. Unless the foldable phone has a wider folded state, it is too troublesome to input text when closed, forcing the user to input text with two hands in the open state.
· Use cases need to be fully demonstrated to enable consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential of foldable phones, although their focus seems to be on promoting “two devices into one” to provide a better video viewing experience. Identifying and promoting meaningful new use cases is critical to success.
Christopher Dodge, Deputy Director of User Experience Innovation Research at Strategy Analytics and the author of the report, commented: “As multitasking will become the core selling point of foldable phones, it is necessary to simplify and intuitively perform operations. Our data shows that the ownership of foldable phones exists. A lot of uncertainty, mainly due to concerns about durability and size, as well as concerns about enhanced use cases.”
Dodge continued: “But our data also shows that when consumers can use foldable phones, doubts and concerns about this concept will be greatly reduced. This means that the in-store experience is likely to increase consumer awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases. More important than ever.”
Paul Brown, Director of User Experience Innovation Research at Strategy Analytics, added: “The biggest question is whether the cognitive value will exceed the increased cost. Consumers’ initial response is “no”. We believe that folding screens solve actual consumer pain points. Capability is critical to whether these devices will become a niche market for the smartphone market or dominate the specifications. In the future, it will be difficult to break through the sales of these devices before the cost drops.”