LG: A casualty of the smartphone wars

Of the 10 leading smartphone brands, according to Counterpoint Research, Apple was second and LG ninth.

From Felix Richter’s “LG Drops Out of the Smartphone Race” posted Tuesday:

In recent years, the former smartphone trailblazer – LG even preceded the iPhone with its first touchscreen phone, the LG Prada, in 2006 – had been relegated to an also-ran in the increasingly competitive smartphone industry. With Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi quickly gaining popularity outside of their home market, LG saw its market share slip to low single digits globally. According to estimates from Counterpoint Research, the company shipped 24.7 million devices in 2020, which is equivalent to a market share of just 1.9 percent.

The old pecking order:

apple smartphone lg out

My take: So we’re left with seven Chinese brands, one Korean and one American.

13 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    Another one “bites the dust!”

    2
    April 6, 2021
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    Like I’ve said earlier, in a very short time there will be iPhone and Chinese smartphones and no others.

    3
    April 6, 2021
    • David Drinkwater said:
      Samsung is Korean and does not look to be going anywhere soon.

      2
      April 6, 2021
  3. John Butt said:
    There is another way to look at it. The Chinese will be saying 66% Chinese phones, 19% Korean and 15% American/Chinese. Brands are not that important in a centrally run/incentivised country.
    Not too dissimilar to the way the Americans would look at it (recently) if there were more American companies involved.

    6
    April 6, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Lost in the noise, Google’s Pixel has about .7% share globally and 2.2% share in the US.

    4
    April 6, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      It seems to me Google has never seriously decided to become a bigger player in smartphones. It seems to only want to be something of an Android technology demonstrator and has not produced or sold
      much more than ~10M units/year. Last year they switched from flagship style to mid-tier smartphones and chips. Their purchase of HTC personnel and IP hasn’t paid off yet IMO. Now Google is touting their own chip design for next year’s Pixel. We’ll see if it’s any good for a first time design with Samsung.

      1
      April 6, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    I’d love to see market share percents by chip? The two heavy lifts are the Android OS development, which provides Google great ROI for their other businesses; And the chips. Wanna bet Apple dominates market share for the high-end chips, and hence gets the best chip development ROI?

    3
    April 6, 2021
    • Robert Stack said:
      @Fred: I was also going to add Google’s Pixel to PED’s list, but I think his numbers were just focused on the top ten. As you point out, it’s global market share is so low it’s probably best included in an “All Others” category. Yet despite this, Google apparently plans to copy Apple (what a surprise, right?) and develop its own custom silicon:
      https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/04/new-reports-say-the-pixel-6-will-feature-a-custom-google-whitechapel-soc/
      As we all know, this is an expensive undertaking and with Pixel sales as low as they I seriously doubt they’re going to sustain this investment for long unless sales were to dramatically turn around. And IMO that is not likely to happen…

      2
      April 6, 2021
      • John Konopka said:
        Hard to know what their thinking is. If they are just looking at some near term sales then this would seem odd. However, maybe looking years down the road they feel that this is sort of life and death and that they can’t let Apple leave them in the dust. When everyone was buying in CPUs they were all more or less on an even playing field. Apple has shown that they can drive innovation quite a bit with custom silicon. It is not just raw speed but all of the custom processors like machine learning and the Secure Enclave that are now possible.

        0
        April 7, 2021
      • Fred Stein said:
        Thanks. Just my guess:

        Google sees the long-term ROI of chip development for SmartPhones and other uses including AI and self-driving cars.

        Apple had this vision long ago and is way ahead vs. a fragmented field. I’m happy.

        0
        April 7, 2021
  6. Ken Cheng said:
    Surprised LG lasted this long. They’ve been losing money on smartphones almost as soon as the iPhone took the lion’s share of the profits. It’s been years since Horace Dediu did one of his profit-share charts, but LG has been negative on phones for a long time. Having said that, I do like LG’s other products: OLED TV, mini splits, fridges.

    0
    April 7, 2021
  7. Bart Yee said:
    “ My take: So we’re left with seven Chinese brands, one Korean and one American.”

    Brands yes, but consider that BBK Electronics Corporation of Dongguan, China markets smartphones under the Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, Realme and iQOO brands. So the top 10 brands boils down to just 5 big vendors and the also rans:
    Samsung
    BBK Electronics
    Apple
    Huawei
    Xiaomi
    Lenovo, Techno, and a host of Country specific regional and local vendors, many of which utilize Chinese ODM makers. There are a number of regional Indian vendors as well.

    0
    April 7, 2021
  8. Bart Yee said:
    One would think that since the only major American smartphone company is Apple, even at only 15% of the worldwide market, the US government would want Apple to retain leadership, control of its ecosystem, and provide a serious alternative to the 66% market dominance of Chinese smartphone makers. Google is slowly losing control of Android to alternative Android App Stores in non-US markets, particularly China.

    1
    April 7, 2021

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