Half of US consumers are interested in buying foldable phones, survey says

A good chunk of US customers say they’re interested in shaking up their phone game, according to YouGov.

Angela Lang/CNET

With eye-catching foldable devices on the market like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Motorola Razr, Americans are seemingly quite interested in ditching their standard smartphones for more innovative gadgets. Half of US consumers are either very (16%) or somewhat (34%) interested in buying a foldable phone as their next device, according to a YouGov survey published last week. 

The majority of interested adults are current LG owners, with 59% saying they’d make the leap. This comes as LG said earlier this month it’ll shut down its mobile business unit in July and instead focus on areas including smart home products, electric vehicle components, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, 52% of Samsung owners are interested in a foldable device, while 47% of iPhone owners showed interest, according to the survey. That’s still a sizable portion of Apple customers, though the slightly lower number could be due to the fact that the iPhone maker doesn’t yet have a foldable phone offering — something that could soon change. 

A patent filed by Apple and published last year shows a design for a “flexible display,” which some speculate could be for a folding phone. Reports in January said Apple has started working on a prototype display for a foldable iPhone, and a recent report from longtime Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests 2023 could be the year we finally see such a device, though the details are still up in the air. 

Portability and convenience are the most important factors shaping interest in foldable phones, YouGov found. Nearly a third of respondents credit their interest to the tech’s “cool factor,” and a quarter say the uniqueness of these devices is what’s catching their eye.

Not everyone’s a fan, though. Half of consumers who said they’re not interested in buying a foldable phone said it’s because they’re worried about the device breaking. Forty-three percent said they think foldable smartphones are merely a fad, while over a third said the cost of these gadgets is too high. Twenty-six percent don’t like the way the phones look, and 15% said their preferred brand doesn’t yet have a foldable offering (iPhone owners were more likely to cite this reason, according to YouGov). We’ll see if and how these feelings shape up as time unfolds.  

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