LG's need win after years of losses
South Korean smartphone makers Samsung and LG are expected to face difficulty in the smartphone market in the year 2021.
Samsung had already ceded the lead in 5G from Apple, while LG needs to return to profitability after continued failures of its flagship smartphones in 2020.
According to Strategy Analytics, Huawei is expected to have shipped the most 5G smartphones in 2020 with 79.6 million units and 29.2% market share in 2020. Apple is expected to be the runner-up with 52.3 million units and 19.2% market share. Samsung is expected to move 41 million units with 15.1% market share.
Apple’s high 5G unit shipment comes from iPhone 12 series launched in October alone, while Samsung launched 5G models in its flagship S, Note and Fold series as well as its mid-tier A series.
Strategy Analytics expects 600 million 5G smartphones to be shipped this year, more than double the 272.6 million units moved in 2020. The market research firm is expecting Apple to be the leader in the sector with 29% market share, followed by Samsung’s 16.8%. This is expected to be followed by Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi.
Samsung is expected to unveil the new Galaxy S1 smartphones on January 14 around the time of CES 2021. This is around two months faster when it traditionally launched new S series smartphones, which was usually around the time of Mobile World Congress in February or even later in March.
Apple is expected to produce up to 30% more iPhones this year, including mid-tier models, according to Nikkei.
If Galaxy S21 doesn’t perform well, Apple may very well takeover the top spot in smartphones from Samsung, not just in 5G.
For LG, 2021 will likely decide the fate of its smartphone business. The company launched the dual-screen LG Wing, which comes in a form factor that allows for one of the screens to be swiveled, but the smartphone was ignored by consumers. Korean carrier LG Uplus is having difficulty selling the remaining stock of the phones.
LG is planing to unveil its rollable smartphone at CES 2021 which kicks off on January 11.
According to GSMA, Apple ranked first in brand loyalty. This was followed by Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and then LG. In market share, LG is ranked 10th.
Last year, LG reorganized its mobile business to focus more on original design manufacturer (ODM). It was done after 22 straight quarters of losses as of the third quarter of 2020.