The rise and fall of LG smartphones
LG Electronics has been a household name since the early 2000s. They make all kinds of home appliances, from groundbreaking TVs washing machines to solar panels that power entire homes and buildings. They’ve consistently ranked in the top 100 consumer electronic companies in the world, albeit dropping down several positions in the past few years. While they continue to be profitable as a company, mostly thanks to their home appliance, their mobile division continues to bleed money and market share.
They’ve lost so much in the recent past that people thought they would finally call it quits in 2019. However, this wasn’t their case just five years ago. So what ended up making life, well, not so good for LG.
The year is 2014, and it’s a mixed one for the smartphone industry. Although the total smartphone sales crossed 1 billion units, there was a decline in the overall growth of the industry. It’s safe to say that 2014 was the beginning of smartphone industry saturation. It’s nothing crazy when compared to the giants and other Chinese competitors, but it’s still a respectable 6th position globally. 2016 was LG’s year to shine, albeit with caution. Caution because China decided to take the smartphone industry seriously. At this point, LG had two options in front of them. The first was be ambitious and compete with the giants in the flagship category. And the second was acknowledge the rise of Chinese companies in the midrange segment and prepare to compete there. LG chose to go with the first option, which in my opinion was the beginning of LG’s downfall.
Chinese companies like Xiaomi, BBK, Huawei, Honor, etc. Offered brilliant mid range options starting as low as $150. But Chinese companies did not stop there. They wanted a piece of the bigger pie. So they created a new category flagship Killers smartphones with flagship level specs and features at less than half the price of the conventional flagships at the time.
LG faced the heat. The G Four and V Ten didn’t perform as expected, despite being better than Samsung’s offerings at the time, which were the Samsung Galaxy S Six and the Note Five. Additionally, since they neglected the mid range segment, their total sales took a hit and barely increased from last year.
They did not recall nor provide an adequate solution to its customers. In fact, they went on to produce and sell more units with this issue. They tried to pull an Apple during the Bengate scenario, which did not sit well with Google, the legal system, and most importantly, its customers.
2016 would have been a good time to revaluate LG mobile’s business decision to compete with the giants. They should have sorted things with their customers, Google, and responded to the Chinese competition in the midrange segment. The market and the industry itself was not ready for it. LG reported massive losses due to poor sales and higher marketing costs. LG had lost the plot to the giants and the Chinese competition in the midrange segment. LG finally showed signs of realization, but that wasn’t enough.
Consumers once said that the division will be expanding its lineup and they will continue to steadily release new ones attached with a wow factor that will rule customers well that’s where my gripe is LG went down the wild road and look where it got them the premium segment a is where the money is but that’s only if you can manage to sell and give an LG’s brand image and current situation that’s exactly what they’re finding hard to do here’s what they should consider doing scrap the whole wow factor. Folding dual screen accessory things the market especially after the pandemic and the recession that will follow is not ready for it in fact they will be looking for great affordable options. It’s a great time to get into the mid-range of segments. I hope they get the other aspects of the phone right such as cameras displaying a battery and software update. If they do that they’re gonna do well in most markets and if this is the direction that LG has decided to take. I really hope they do come out with those because we really do need the competition and I hope this is the year that LG turns things around and hopefully become profitable in the next two to three years .
B Sc (Hons) Horticulture
Dr. YSR Horticultural University