When Samsung unveiled its first foldable phone, the biggest question was whether people would pay $2,000 for an unproven technology. The answer to that was pushed to the side when an even bigger question appeared: would it survive long enough to be worth that $2,000. At an event in Berlin, Samsung finally answered the older question by revealing just how many units it was able to sell. That said, Samsung was unsurprisingly mum on other factors that would determine a smartphone’s long-term success.
To give Samsung credit, selling 1 million $2,000 is no small feat. Especially when that phone has proven to be significantly less durable than normal smartphones. Samsung Electronics President Young Sohn points to those numbers as proof, perhaps indirect, that there is enough interest in foldable phones to make people make such a risky investment.
It’s almost unbelievable how the Galaxy Fold sold that much in so short a time. According to TechCrunch, only an estimated 500,000 units were sold in October, a month after the phone re-launched. Part of that jump in numbers may be attributed to the Chinese market where the phone reportedly sold out in minutes more than once.
Sales numbers are one way to measure market interest and retail success but smartphones are not one-off purchases. Their lasting effect will depend on other factors, including RMAs, replacements, and repairs. Samsung naturally didn’t want to divert attention to how the phones have been doing in the wild after they landed in buyers’ hands.
Still, that 1 million number bodes well for the nascent foldable phone market and especially Samsung. It does prove that there’s enough interest in the technology and suggests there might be even more if prices weren’t so high. Samsung is reportedly planning to sell millions of foldable devices in the next two years and that may only be possible if it makes the phones more accessible.