LG, which launched its G5 series smartphones at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, could ship more than 10 million units, marking a record. "Now that smartphones have fully penetrated the market, it's so hard to impress the consumer, and the G5 can do that. They've hit the areas that are traditionally important for the consumer: photos and music," Jefferson Wang, senior partner at Philadelphia-based IBB Consulting Group, told the Wall Street Journal. LG could also earn big revenue from sales of accessories, believe analysts.
A bigger marketing budget could make LG a key partner for US carriers, says Jeff Fieldhack, research director for California-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research. He said by spending more on advertising and marketing for its new G5 model, LG could steal market shares from rivals such as HTC, Sony and Microsoft.
In an attempt to make it a hit, the company is planning to launch the G5 simultaneously in the US, Europe and South Korea in partnership with 200 carrier partners. The phone will go on sale in April. "We want to give it a big drive this time, setting aside more budget for marketing than we could probably afford," said Juno Cho, chief executive officer of LG Mobile.
LG introduced the V10 smartphone in the US in 2015 and hired movie star Joseph Gordon-Levitt to promote it. According to research firm Counterpoint, LG's smartphone shipments rose 13% in the last three months of 2015, marking a strong gain when compared to a year earlier.
However, in China, the world's largest smartphone market, LG faces stiff competition from Samsung and Lenovo. LG's sales in China accounted for just 6% of its total revenue, including sales of television sets and home appliances during the first three quarters of 2015, as opposed to 28% in North America and 26% in South Korea during the same period.
Cho added: "China is a very brand-sensitive market, and it requires huge retail costs in the early stages to push products."