LG pips Apple to second place in US handset market
| by Nikhil Subramaniam |
Things appear to be looking up for LG in the US as it beat Apple to the second place in the US handset market following a bright December. According to Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, the Korean chaebol surpassed Apple, coming in behind leader and fellow Korean company Samsung.
The rise in sales of LG smartphones during the holiday period saw its share of all mobile devices in the US rise to 13 percent, just ahead of Apple (12 percent), according to a report from The Yonhap. Samsung, however, remained steadfast at top of the pile with 33 percent share, while Motorola and HTC rounded off the top five. In response to the development, an LG spokesperson emphasised that the spike in sales was largely thanks to the popularity of the Optimus G smartphone in the North American market.
Selling like hot cakes
Counterpoint’s data points to LG losing its runner-up spot in the US market in 2011 after the launch of the wildly-popular iPhone 4S. But the research does not shed light on which devices have led to LG’s comeback. While LG itself believes it is the high-end Optimus G that has led to a spike, it could very well turn out that it is actually the Nexus 4 – which is built by LG – that is giving it a sales boost.
While measuring just one month of sales may not seem like a significant indicator, the fact is December includes the lucrative Christmas buying period and thus the sales of the quarter include a sizeable chunk of sales made in December. It still, however, does not mean that LG is the new Samsung as the US handset market accounts for both smartphones and ordinary feature phones, which despite the rise of smartphone sales, accounts for half of the phones in the country. So it would be wise to not just go by the numbers in this case.
However, the Optimus G’s combination of quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 4.7-inch True HD IPS+ display (1280 x 768 resolution), LTE, 3G, EDGE/GPRS and Wi-Fi capabilities, a 13 megapixel camera and 32GB of internal memory can compete with the best smartphone hardware out there.
LG’s Q4 earnings will be released on January 30 and given the track record of the company – they have posted three straight quarters with a profit – the numbers are expected to be positive. Earlier this month, we reported that over a million Optimus Gs have been shipped worldwide by the Korean company. LG’s mid-range and low-end L series phones have also been selling well as the company announced that more than 10 million of these handsets were shipped in 2012.
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