According to a report by TrendForce, the number of foldable smartphones shipped globally is expected to increase from 12.8 million in 2022 to 18.5 million in 2023.
The hinges used in foldable smartphones play a crucial role in determining the overall cost of the device and can affect consumers’ willingness to purchase.
As the market for foldable smartphones grows, the value of the global market for hinges is predicted to increase by 14.6% year-over-year to over $500 million in 2023.
There are currently two main types of hinges used in foldable smartphones: teardrop-shaped and U-shaped. The teardrop-shaped hinges are more complex and expensive compared to the U-shaped ones.
As the market for foldable smartphones increases, cost will be a significant challenge for smartphone brands that use teardrop-shaped hinges.
Overall, Samsung, which uses U-shaped hinges, had the largest market share of 82% in the foldable smartphone market in 2022.
Samsung’s main suppliers for foldable smartphone hinges include KH Vatech and S-connect, and Samsung plans to diversify its hinge suppliers to further reduce costs.
Other smartphone brands have adopted teardrop-shaped hinges and their combined market share for foldable models was around 20% in 2022.
The suppliers for teardrop-shaped hinges include Amphenol and Asia Vital Components (AVC).
Brands have been switching to composite materials like carbon fiber to simplify hinge designs and reduce weight.
Panel makers have also been involved in the development of foldable smartphone hinges, and they are working on solutions that integrate OLED displays and hinges into one piece, to optimize the lifespan and performance of the device.