It was kind of sad to hear LG officially announced that they will not be making smartphones anymore. My first ever phone which I got in 2006 was an LG phone, the LG 2000. The company cited that they were now making losses and really did not see the need to continue in the smartphone business. One of the most popular phones ever made by LG was the LG Chocolate – around 23 million of them were sold. The last time they ever came out with a true flagship Android phone was in 2014. This was when they released the LG G3 which saw over 10 million of them being sold. From that time forward they never managed to peak those numbers. Their next phone was the LG G2 which only reached a peak of around 3 million of them being sold. There is a consensus that LG did make exceptionally good phones. In fact, most of the design aspects in literally every smartphone today were inspired by LG. So what went wrong? In this article, I look at that and more.
LG’s Statement On April 5th 2021
“LG Electronics Inc. (LG) announced that it is closing its mobile business unit. The decision was approved by its board of directors earlier today.
LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services.
LG will provide service support and software updates for customers of existing mobile products for a period of time which will vary by region. LG will work collaboratively with suppliers and business partners throughout the closure of the mobile phone business. Details related to employment will be determined at the local level.
Moving forward, LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas. Core technologies developed during the two decades of LG’s mobile business operations will also be retained and applied to existing and future products.
The wind-down of the mobile phone business is expected to be completed by July 31 although the inventory of some existing models may still be available after that.”
Struggled To Effectively Market Their Phones
It is interesting that when you look at most of the recent phones LG made you will notice that they had more or less the same specs and features that were on demand. In fact, when you look at the flagship phones of for example Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, they had basically the same specs and features LG flagship would have. Yet despite that LG phones were not selling as much whilst others were. Why? It can only boil down to a failure to effectively brand and market their phones. Some things to look at:
This can be debatable but this aspect could have affected the popularity of some of their phones. Consider one of their flagships which they named LG V60 Thin Q 5G. That name is just too unnatural and it is not even catchy enough to become easily relatable, memorable, or popular. Seemingly small things like that can affect the marketability of a smartphone or any product in general. Consider other brands e.g. Huawei P30 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, Mi 11 Ultra – those are catchier and speak to how flagship the smartphone is. The use of the terms ‘Pro’, ‘Max’, or ‘Ultra’ speak to that. That was a missing element in some of LG’s flagships.
The marketing inadequacies even went further to their ads. They were literally dry and were not that memorable in my own opinion. The crux of ads nowadays is to build and communicate a character that is associated with the brand you are marketing. Ads must arouse emotional attachments on the part of the target market. LG smartphone ads were seriously devoid of that and I am sure it hurt their marketing efforts.
The Case Of Social Media Influencers
So there is yet again another debatable possible cause why LG’s popularity tanked. Well, some people think that social media influencers did not give LG smartphone substantial coverage. To some extent, it is true especially considering how social media influencing is a huge deal in modern-day marketing. Some social media influencers did cite that it was not always easy to recommend LG smartphones for various reasons. Some of them were pricing or a lag in some of their specs or features in comparisons to other brands.
It is again super sad that LG had to bow out of the smartphones game. Did you know that 10 of the specs and features that you now find in every flagship smartphone were all pioneered by LG? They did inspire or pioneer all that but still did not manage to become a global leader in the smartphone market. For the most part, they stayed in the third position worldwide but their losses spiked into their billions. This was a serious impediment and resultantly they had to call it quits. Their story is worth learning from because this can happen to any smartphone manufacturer. Overall, it can happen to any business so it is vital to draw lessons, some of which I shared in this article.