Irish consumers seek out folding phones as Samsung orders rise

Galaxy Z Flip5 and Fold5 show increased pre-orders as consumers hang on to smartphones for longer

Irish smartphone buyers are increasingly adopting folding and flip phones, according to preorder data from Samsung.

Samsung’s newest folding phones have just hit the market, with the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5 among the latest additions to the mobile maker’s line-up.

Preorders for the devices were 25 per cent higher year on year, said Samsung Ireland’s head of product Quentin Doran O’Reilly, showing the growth of the category that Samsung has driven in recent years. Almost two-thirds of the sales are usually in the Flip device, which is considered more targeted at the everyday user, with the larger Fold5 targeted more at productivity.

The growth comes despite Irish users increasingly hanging on to smartphones for longer, with some going up to three years between upgrades, Samsung said. This mirrors analysts’ opinions, who say the replacement cycle for smartphones has increased from yearly to almost three years before they buy a new smartphone.


”We’re up to about three years before people start to look at their next contract despite the fact that they’re on 24-month contracts,” said Mr Doran O’Reilly. “It’s an investment in a tool that does a huge amount for you. I think the key drivers for premium handsets are still the camera, screen and battery. And they’re the things that get much better as you go up the premium line.”

To offset the cost though, Samsung offers customers the option of trading in their old device, bringing the cost down. That is a model that has been adopted by Apple for its iPhones, and also by local mobile operators such as Vodafone and Three.

The ecosystem of devices is also proving a draw for customers, Mr Doran O’Reilly said, with Samsung now offering ear buds and smartwatches alongside the Galaxy phones.

“That’s something that we’ve seen grown growing massively over the last couple of years,” he said. “All the products that stand alone are spectacular, but once you put them together, you see them working together and it just forms a much better experience.”

This year also sees the launch of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, an update to the Classic line that Samsung only launches every two years.

“The preorder results from day one speak for themselves, we’re seeing a considerable year on year uplift,” said Doran O’Reilly. “And last year was the biggest we’d seen. Being able to tailor the devices to our customers requirements is having the positive result. We’re making the right changes.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist