South Korea’s LG Electronics continues to lead in smart TVs, but that success has not carried over to smartphones in recent years. Rather than continue to invest in the space, the company has announced it’s officially withdrawing by the end of July. Existing phones from LG will still be sold and supported, but the company intends to focus on “growth areas,” including smart home, robotics, electric vehicle components, artificial intelligence, and various business-to-business solutions.
LG also said that “core technologies” from two decades of operating in the mobile space will be retained and applied to future products, while the company intends to support mobile-related tech, such as the development of 6G.
LG’s exit from the smartphone business comes at a time when consumers are holding onto their existing phones for longer and longer, and many are seeking cheaper options. The basic feature set in today’s smartphones has reached parity across many brands and models, and innovation has slowed. LG had been one of the manufacturers developing more innovative technology for its smartphone business, including the swivel-screen LG Wing and a rollable screen design, but with the company abandoning smartphones, that rollable model will no longer be a part of its product strategy. When Apple’s iPhone first debuted in 2007, LG had been among the top five smartphone producers in the world. However, as of last year, the firm’s products couldn’t crack the top seven, especially as Chinese firms like Xiaomi and Oppo have surged in popularity. In the US, Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that LG smartphones have seen declining share in the last few years, especially with older consumers. In 2018, LG had a 14% share of the US smartphone market, but in 2020 that share dropped to 10%. The 35 and over crowd also became less interested, as 16% owned an LG phone in 2019 but only 12% of this demographic owned one last year.