Internationally, LG Electronics is the best known division by far of diversified conglomerate LG Group. Westerners in particular know the company as Korea's #2 electronics manufacturer behind the mighty Samsung, which it followed into global markets in the 1990s, often borrowing its strategy unashamedly from its country-mate. As a result, by the late 1990s, LG had become the global #3 in mobile phones. However, in what was perhaps an ill-timed attempt to stop being seen as a Samsung copyist, it failed to follow its larger rival's determined move into Android-powered smartphones, and paid the price with steep declines in its market share, a misstep from which it has never recovered. In the period since, it has been entirely eclipsed by low-cost Chinese manufacturers. In 2018, the brand ranked #7 by global market share with around 3%, but volumes have continued to fall since then, and by 2021 the mobile division has been loss-making for six consecutive years. The group finally called it quits in 2021 announcing its immediate withdrawal from the mobile handset market. Yet LG remains a strong player in global televisions behind Samsung, and offers an extensive range of kitchen and living appliances led by washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners. This business is now the group's single biggest. High-end TVs and appliances are marketed under the LG Signature banner; mid-range kitchen and laundry appliances as LG Tromm. ThinkQ is the group's AI system, operating across several types of devices in the portfolio from smartphones to TVs and even fridges. More recently the group has established a presence in automotive components and general business solutions including solar technology and outdoor display signs. Kwon Bong-seok is CEO. Revenues for 2020 were around $53.7bn (KWon 63.3tn) with net income of $1.75bn. Home appliances accounted for approx $18.9bn, home entertainment for $11.2bn and mobile devices for $4.4bn. Affiliated company LG Display is the world's leading manufacturer of LCD and OLED display components for TVs, monitors and other screen-based devices. Originally a joint venture with Dutch company Philips it is now wholly controlled by LG. Revenues were $20.6bn in 2020.
Capsule checked 2nd March 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 12th Apr 2021: "Light Up Your World". Advertising TVs is always tricky. How much can you really say about a box that just sits in the corner or on the wall? The usual approach is to depict punters "lost" in a world of themed entertainment - gladiators, police thrillers, dinosaurs and so on. To their credit, The & Partnership are trying something slightly different in their first global campaign for LG Electronics' TVs. This punter ends up lost in a slightly more abstract - and rather beautiful - alternate reality of different light shows. Plenty of cash has been thrown at the production design for these lighting installations. TVs are, after all, now LG Electronics bread and butter following the exit from mobile phones. Also much more fun to advertise than kitchen appliances...
Adbrands Daily Update 5th April 2021: It's official. As first rumoured three months ago LG Electronics confirmed its withdrawal from the mobile handset business with immediate effect. In a statement, the company said its "strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services." It will continue to provide service support and software updates for existing customers for an unspecified additional period, though this is likely to vary from region to region.
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd January 2021: LG Electronics said it is considering an exit from the mobile handset business in which it was once among the global leaders. While Samsung and Apple dominate the high end of the smartphone business, Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Lenovo have gradually squeezed any other players out of the low-cost and value segment. Together, Chinese manufacturers now control around 57% of the global market, while Samsung and Apple together account for another 35%. That leaves everyone else fighting for crumbs in the remaining 8%. LG's own share has slipped to less than 2%. In a memo, LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok told employees that the mobile division "has been in the red for 23 consecutive quarters… It's time to make the best choice by judging our current and future competitiveness calmly." He said that LG is "leaving all possibilities open" including sale, closure or an exit from all but a few key countries.
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