LG, the South Korean electronics giant, has released its full financial results for 2015. From the results, things did not go well for its mobile division, which is our primary area of interest. While it managed to register a 2% growth in shipments in the fourth quarter when compared with a similar period in 2014, that was still not enough to salvage a year’s worth of drawbacks. On the positive side, LG managed to increase the number of devices it ships to the critical North American market by 13% to stand at 15.3 million.
LG shipped 57.9 million smartphone units in 2015, a slight increase over the 59.1 million units it sold the previous year. By comparison, Huawei managed to ship over 100 million smartphone units in 2015. Xiaomi shipped slightly over 70 million while Oppo, another Chinese smartphone maker, shipped 50 million units.
So what next? The company is keen on returning to profitability this year. Its 2016 plans, according to the financial report, include releasing two flagship smartphones as well as unveiling more options for the budget buyers. As we had already noted, LG has been lacking in entry-level and mid-range device options. With its new range of K smartphones, this is already on course. LG unveiled the K10 and K7 smartphones at CES early this month.
It is not like this is the first time that LG is introducing two premium smartphones in a year. It launched the G4 and the V10 in 2015 even though the latter was never paraded as an equal to the flagship G4 and is yet to become available in most markets. Even the curved G Flex devices, which were meant for the upper segment of the market, also played in the same league. What is likely bound to change is the approach in terms of marketing.
LG will be joining the likes of Samsung and Sony who have been releasing at least two top devices every year. Sony has a bi-annual approach to its Xperia Z device launches while Samsung has always had the Galaxy Note phablets to fall back on and last year introduced a second Galaxy S device in a year, the Galaxy S6 Edge+. Samsung is rumoured to be releasing three such devices this year while another top three Android smartphone maker, Huawei, which has in the last few years also introduced a second premium smartphone of its own, the Mate series, is said to be considering four models of its flagship P9 smartphone which is expected in the market in Q2 2016.