In 2013 it was the third-largest smartphone maker on the planet, and as of July 31, 2021, it will no longer exist. Well, the part that makes smartphones, at least. Last Monday, LG broke the news that it will completely exit the smartphone market- the first major smartphone manufacturer to do so.
The move comes after LG's smartphone division posted cumulative losses of $4.5 billion over the past six years. The division had once pioneered the curved phone display and the ultra-wide-angle lens.
But, as time wore on, phone designs stagnated, and updates barely trickled out, causing LG to lose favor among most consumers.
After July 31, LG will continue to provide software updates for a "period of time." However, the company offered no specifics about whether its former customers can expect an update to Android version 12 later this year, Forbes reports.
LG may have been the third-largest smartphone brand in the US, but both Apple
So who stands to benefit the most from LG's exit, Apple or Samsung? LG had a particular corner of the market, especially among budget-conscious consumers. Its phones cost 26% of an iPhone's cost and cost 67% of the blended average of Samsung's lineup.
"In the United States, LG has targeted mid-priced - if not ultra-low - models, and that means Samsung, which has more mid-priced product lines than Apple, will be better able to attract LG users," said Ko Eui-Young, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities, quoted by Reuters.
Chinese manufacturers, able to fill the void for low-cost feature dense phones, also stand to benefit from LG's exit. Particularly in Latin America, where Apple has a significantly smaller market share due to the high price of the iPhone.
And while you might think that frosty bilateral relations might ice Chinese companies out of the U.S. market, you'd be mistaken. Of course, Huawei and ZTE
It's worth noting that Chinese phone makers accounted for less than 1% of global sales two decades ago. Today Chinese smartphone brands have a combined 57% market share, according to The Wall Street Journal. And with LG's exit, that number will likely get even higher.