Let’s start with the good news. LG actually had a pretty good quarter (on the strength of appliance sales). The LG Home Appliance & Air Solution division made $5.23 billion for Q2. Anyone who’s been following the company for the past several years can guess where the bad news comes.
Smartphone sales dipped 21.3% year over year for the South Korean company. The culprits are as you’d expect: an overall slowing of the smartphone market, coupled with aggressive undercutting from Chinese manufacturers. Huawei seems to lead the pack on that front, with a big increase in sales, in spite of a confluence of external factors.
The smartphone unit saw an operating loss of $268.4 million, in spite of a 6.8% increase in sales from the quarter prior. LG chalks up the loss to higher marketing on new models and April’s move from Seoul to Vietnam for smartphone production for longer-term cost cutting.
In spite of this, the company says it’s still bullish about smartphone sales for Q3. “The introduction of competitive mass-tier smartphones and growing demand for 5G products are expected to contribute to improved performance in the third quarter,” it writes in an earnings release.
LG is, of course, among the first companies to release a 5G handset, with the V50 ThinQ. The next-gen wireless technology is expected to increase stagnating global smartphone sales, though much of that will depend on the speed with which carriers are able to roll it out. It seems unlikely that 5G in and of itself will be a quick or even longer-term fix for a struggling category.