Science & Technology

LG’s smartphone exit: who stands to gain?

FILE PHOTO: A show attendee passing by the LG Electronics booth during the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
FILE PHOTO: A show attendee passes by the LG Electronics booth during the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 9, 2009. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

April 6, 2021

By Subrat Patnaik and Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) – LG Electronics’ move to exit its loss-making mobile business is expected to create more opportunities for Samsung than its other rivals in the lucrative North American smartphone market, analysts said.

LG’s U.S. market share currently stands at about 10%, research firms Gartner and Counterpoint estimated, adding it was stronger in markets where it partnered with telecom companies to include its devices as part of a mobile plan.

“Apple tends to cater to the higher end of the (U.S.) market; so it might grab a small portion of LG’s sales,” Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said. “It’s more likely that Samsung inherits a lot of it because both vendors compete across similar markets.”

Globally, LG’s market share shrank to 2% in 2020, a massive drop from its status as the world’s third-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc during its peak in 2013.

The company shipped 23 million phones last year, compared with Samsung’s 256 million, according to Counterpoint.

Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak said LG was mostly competing in the mid-tier, as its flagship phones received tepid market response.

“So it will be mostly the Chinese and mid-tier brands benefiting through the LG exit. In its key market like USA – Samsung, Motorola, HMD mostly (ZTE, Alcatel to a lesser extent) will benefit, while Xiaomi, Motorola will benefit in LATAM and Samsung in Korea,” Pathak added.

Tech enthusiasts on Twitter lamented the exit of the once ubiquitous name in the smartphone industry, with many crediting LG for pioneering the now-familiar features such as ultra-wide angle camera and capacitive touchscreen in mobile devices.

“They didn’t always ace every phone, but losing them means losing a competitor that was willing to try new things, even when they didn’t work,” popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) said in a tweet.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Anil D’Silva)




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