$1.1-billion Opportunity Opens up in South Korea with LG’s Exit

Boston, Toronto, London, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – September 6, 2021

A $1.1-billion opportunity has been created in South Korea with the exit of LG from the smartphone market, according to Counterpoint’s latest Korea Smartphone Tracker. This calculation is based on LG’s smartphone revenue in 2019, when business was stable. LG was once the second-largest player in the market.

Counterpoint Research South Korea Smartphone Market Share by OEM

Samsung is trying to benefit from LG’s exit as it has a wide range of low- to mid-priced Android models. The company will strengthen its Galaxy A line-up further in the second half, along with the recently released Galaxy Z Fold/Flip series. Recently, Samsung included the LG V50 in its buyback program for the first time. Earlier, the program used to target only Samsung and Apple models.

Apple is also upping its game to increase share, although the absence of feature-enabling credit card payments via iPhones in South Korea may act as a barrier in addition to the general tendency of Android-based mobile users to stick to Android models. Apple has recently started to sell iPhones at LG’s electronics retailer LG Best Shop, thus adding offline sales channels across the country. In addition, it reportedly plans to open South Korea’s third and fourth Apple stores after opening the second one at the end of last year. It is also aiming to expand consumer services in the country.

Xiaomi started to get aggressive in South Korea’s low- to mid-end segments with the Redmi Note 10 launch. However, it does not seem easy for the company to take a significant share here as the consumers have a low preference for Chinese brands.

The South Korean smartphone market itself contracted 8% YoY and 17% QoQ in Q2 2021, lacking momentum from the top two dominant players – Samsung and Apple. Both did not have any new flagships during the period. The Galaxy A52 and A72 were not released due to chip shortages, contrary to the company’s original plan. Further, unlike last year, Apple did not release the iPhone SE series either, while the new product effect of the iPhone 12 diminished with the approaching launch of the iPhone 13.

Senior Analyst Liz Lee said, “A strong recovery of the South Korean smartphone market is expected on the back of new launches in the second half. Samsung will likely take the majority of LG’s domestic market share, but it is worth paying attention to overseas brands’ entry, such as Google and Motorola. Their brand awareness is good among Korean consumers, but the key is whether they fully understand the country’s smartphone market and consumer preferences. It will be important for them to benchmark the past effective strategies of LG, including its target price segments and sales channels, to absorb LG’s smartphone users. With this potential competition, we could expect a more diversified competitive landscape of the South Korean smartphone market than before.”

Some of the many questions that prospective entrants to the South Korean smartphone market need to ask themselves are:

  • How big will the South Korean market be in the coming years?
  • What was LG’s product positioning?
  • Which price segments saw LG competing in the most?
  • What key features do consumers consider when buying?

Our detailed report ‘South Korea Smartphone Tracker’ answers these questions. 

Feel free to contact us at press(at) for questions regarding our latest research and insights, and for press enquiries.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Liz Lee

Counterpoint Research

Related Posts

Liz, an Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, has 14+ years of extensive experience in the tech industry. Previously, Liz worked for Samsung SDI focusing on IR (Investor Relations) along with insight-based analysis of emerging tech markets and corporate strategies. She holds an International MBA degree from Waseda Business School.

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.