Eight-fold: UAE pre-orders for Samsung’s flagship foldable spike

Alvin Cabral /Dubai Filed on September 8, 2021

Seong Hyun Lee, president of Samsung Gulf Electronics, with the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

Osman Albora, senior director of Samsung Gulf Electronics’ mobile division, with the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

Samsung Electronics will begin sales of the latest iterations of its foldable devices on Friday in the UAE with pre-orders for its flagship product spiking, proof that the category is fast catching up with consumer preferences.

The South Korean tech giant’s Galaxy Z Series — comprised of the Flip3 and flagship Fold3 — has made strides since its debut two years ago, and the UAE is one of the markets that have displayed one of the highest interest and adoption rates, a top official of the company’s Gulf unit told Khaleej Times.

“There is indeed a high demand for these products in the region. The consumers that we have here are really tech-savvy and they want to have the latest innovation, and they are ready to try it,” Osman Albora, senior director of Samsung Gulf Electronics’ mobile division, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Citing a recent YouGov survey in the United States, Albora says that half of those questioned said they considered switching to a foldable device on their next purchase.

Separately, he pointed out that a study from Counterpoint Research reveals that the foldable device market will triple in size this year to reach around 6.5 million units. That is a huge step up from recent memory, and with only a handful of brands offering these devices, Samsung is virtually unrivalled in this category.

“These external factors are what gives us confidence that the foldable phone factor is matching consumers’ needs, delivering a good experience against those needs,” Albora added.

That confidence is even bigger here in the GCC: According to Samsung, pre-order numbers for the Fold3 in particular are four times better than last year’s Fold2.

And figures are even more remarkable in the UAE: Pre-orders for Samsung’s flagship foldable have spiked eight times compared to the 2020 iteration.

And while the GCC’s high purchasing power also plays a key role in this growth, other regions Samsung operates in have also posted healthy adoption rates, showing that the foldable trend is for real, overall creating a strong ecosystem for the company in this growing category. In Samsung’s home market of South Korea, the growth is 10 times.

Asked why a growing number of UAE consumers already using or are looking at foldables, Albora says that the overall proposition offered by foldables — compact form, productivity features and, now, with increased durability, as well as its stylish nature — has driven interest. The Fold3 and Flip3 have become the world’s first foldables that are IPX8-rated, meaning they are water-resistant, and S Pen support was added to the former.

“They really appreciate these,” he added. “The Fold3 and Flip3 have been calibrated for every day use without worries.”

The Flip3 starts at Dh3,799 — down about one-third from last year’s model — while the Fold3 begins at an also-lower Dh6,799.

Alvin Cabral

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