LG admits past mistakes as it readies massive UK comeback

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Vendor expects to “double market” share over the next 12 months; marketing spend also to double next year in attempt to build halo effect for the rest of Europe

LG plans to spend tens of millions of pounds repairing its poor standing in the UK.

The Korean manufacturer, which was five years ago on its way to becoming a UK market leader, has seen its share dive from 18 per cent in 2007 to just three per cent today.

Its UK head of mobile Andrew Coughlin (pictured) told Mobile News LG has turned a corner and is gaining significant traction, highlighting the launch of the G2.

“Our market share is creeping up to around five per cent and the ambition is to double that next year,” said Coughlin.

Catch-up
“We were a little late to smartphones which meant we were always playing catch up.

“We always felt we always had a great feature phone portfolio, but lacked strength in depth with our smartphones. Now we have that right, we are in an ideal position to kick on.

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Coughlin predicts LG will have a UK market share (sales)  of around five per cent by the end of this month and has set a target of achieving a UK share of 10 per cent by this time in 2014.

This would make LG’s sales share larger than BlackBerry (three per cent) Sony (nine per cent) HTC (eight per cent) and would put LG fourth behind Nokia (11 per cent) Apple (29 per cent) and (Samsung 34 per cent).

Coughlin says LG has identified Samsung and BlackBerry as its main targets to take market share from, whilst Nokia and Sony Mobile are now perceived as it greatest rivals.

He insists Samsung has its weaknesses, which LG will look to exploit.

“As a market leader with such a large market share, it will be difficult for Samsung to sustain the level of investment across the whole portfolio. There is bound to be some room for the challenger brands.

“BlackBerry is one that people continue to be a little concerned about. There is a certain amount of share we can take from them.

“Nokia and Sony Mobile will be our main competitors next year. Nokia has done a brilliant job in coming back with some very exciting handsets. They are one to worry about. Certainly over the past two years Sony Mobile also have been releasing some great products and are serious competitors.”

Record spend
Coughlin said LG has doubled its 2013 marketing budget over 2012. It will be doubling this again in 2014.

He refused to reveal an exact figure, stating only it would be “double digit millions”.

“We have spent millions this year in marketing. Multiple times what has been spent in the past by LG. It’s time to reinvest in the brand and push us back to the forefront of people’s minds.

“The G2 is leading the way for us and store staff are now recommending LG where perhaps they wouldn’t have done before. Our take-up by consumers will gather speed.”

Doubts
However some industry pundits remain sceptical about LG’s new UK ambitions.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Dominic Sunnebo remained unconvinced however: “There is not anything really significantly happening with LG in the UK. It is building momentum globally, particularly in the US, where they have a large proportion of feature phone customers who are upgrading to their low-end smartphones.

“Making great phones isn’t enough to succeed. LG really has no brand presence in mobile and no strong carrier or retail partnerships.”

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