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In brief: LG’s decision to stop making phones has left a void in the US market, and it’s happily being filled by OnePlus, Motorola, and Nokia HMD. While component shortages continue to affect a vast range of consumer goods, including smartphones, the overall market grew 27% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Counterpoint Research’s latest report shows that LG’s shipments in the US phone market fell -35% YoY in H1 2021. Rumors that the South Korean firm would exit the business following 23 quarters of consecutive losses arrived in January, and LG confirmed its departure in April, with its last-ever phone rolling off the production line a few weeks later.
In addition to LG’s farewell, there has been an increased demand for more affordable 5G phones and the well-documented component shortages, making it a challenging year for OEMs. But OnePlus, Motorola, and Nokia HMD have stepped into the gap left by LG.
OnePlus saw the biggest gains; it recorded 428% growth in H1, partly thanks to the introduction of the N100 and N10 5G in January, while Motorola was up 83% and Nokia HMD jumped 35%. Apple, meanwhile, was up 53%, while Samsung increased 17%, though Counterpoint believes Samsung’s figures would have been better if it had been able to meet demand.
LG wasn’t the worst performer in H1; that dubious honor goes to ZTE, which fell -77%. Google, which hasn’t released a new phone since the Pixel 4a in October, was down -7%.
While the 27% overall market growth is good news for the industry, Counterpoint Research’s senior analyst Hanish Bhatia offered this warning: “Component shortages are resulting in OEMs falling short in meeting carrier demands for specific smartphone models, while also forcing some to prioritize certain models over others. If this continues, it may put a big constraint on the supply side in H2 2021.”