foldable smartphones MWC 2019
Credit Huawei

With the foldable smartphones finally coming into the fray, we sense a similar excitement for a new product that can last be traced back to 2007, when the full touchscreen iPhone was released. Fast forward 11 years, we see full touchscreen mobile phones have become the synonym of Smartphone.

When both the type of products – Full touchscreen smartphone and foldable smartphone – are lined up against each other, we can notice a similarity in the way the companies have tried to go on about selling both products.

Foldable Smartphones: The Apple similarity

After months of speculation, smartphone companies have started raising the curtains to showcase their upcoming offerings in the fordable space. And, unsurprisingly, they are set to be priced exorbitantly.

In the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019) in Barcelona, all the leading smartphone manufacturers are busy in unveiling foldable smartphones one after another.

However, the commercial availability and acceptability of foldable smartphones is still a distant dream. The two companies making foldable smartphones, for now, Samsung and Huawei, are not hoping for too path-breaking success in terms of sales of their highly-anticipated product off the bat.

Samsung’s foldable smartphone is priced at around $1980, while Huawei’s foldable smartphone is priced at around $2600. However, they are indeed hoping for the prices to go down eventually, making their product more affordable to the general population.

We can directly draw inspiration for this exorbitant pricing strategy from Apple. Apple has a history of over-pricing its iPhones. Even though there were other devices in the market offering similar, if not better, specifications at almost the same price, Apple is accused of price tagging their iPhones exorbitantly. While a lot of the sales was made up of past versions of iPhones sold at cheaper prices every year, the newer releases had their fair share of buyers. All this was because the iPhones had become, and still are, a fad. And it would not be too wrong to think that Samsung and Huawei want something similar with their foldable smartphones.

How are the other models affected?

Samsung seems to have totally taken after Apple’s overpricing strategy. After the foldable smartphones, Samsung is also willing to significantly increase the prices of its recently launched flagship Galaxy S10 smartphones. The Korean electronics major is set to price it in a range between $1000 and $1600. With Apple becoming the first company to price the smartphones at or above $1000, Samsung can very well be seen following in its footsteps.

However, this also symbolises the increase in the average selling price (ASP) of a smartphone in today’s market. The average selling price (excluding foldable smartphones) in Q4 2018 clocked $575, a significant increase from $542 a year earlier to that. This also signifies the increasing market share that the premium and luxury phones are beginning to have in the smartphone market.

Is Apple’s strategy as foolproof as it seems?

Apple’s strategy of overpricing might seem really impressive over the years, but its flaws are getting exposed over time.

The declining sales of iPhone is a testament to this fact. Untill the beginning of 2018, Apple has been getting away with its overpriced products but people are beginning to take its competitors a bit more seriously than earlier. It is all the more prevalent in countries like China, where there are a significant number of brands competing with the iPhone. The rise of Huawei and Xiaomi and, at the same time, the declining sales of iPhone in China are touted as one of the reasons behind Apple’s disappointing first quarter result of fiscal 2019.

As expected, Apple has been trying its best to sell its underperforming iPhone models, with the recent trade-in deals with a big example of that. With the company also accused of making “false promises” to boost iPhone sales, the above-mentioned plan doesn’t seem all that assuring anymore, does it? Whether Samsung and Huawei will be able to achieve success through the same, remains to be seen. The foldable smartphones look every bit as impressive as they were anticipated to be. But the products seem to be a bit too over-priced to be even allowed into them being made into a fad.

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