If its mobile division didn't exist at all, LG would certainly be having a better year. It managed to rack up a $748.8 billion KRW ($667.7 million) operating profit and had its best quarter this year for revenue, despite losing KRW 146.3 billion ($130.5 million) selling smartphones. While it has lost over $400 million so far this year on mobile, LG is far from giving up hope on the division, though. It expects the five-camera V40 ThinQ smartphone will lift it next quarter, hopefully to some kind of profit.
LG noted that mobile could have been worse if not for its mid-range smartphone lineup. It's also doing well in appliances and home entertainment, luckily, where it did make plenty of profit. It heavily relies, however, on high-end TV sales for that money, and has noted that competition is increasing heavily in that market.
Arch-rival Samsung has projected $15.5 billion in profits this quarter, or 23 times what LG made, and its Galaxy smartphones are highly profitable. As such, LG must keep plugging away on mobile and figure out some way to make it work. It would help if its smartphone lineup wasn't so deeply uninspiring, with one design indistinguishable from the next. The V40 ThinQ is relying instead on technical trickery, going all-in on its camera design, well after other companies like Huawei already did so.
LG is not alone in its mobile pain, as Sony, HTC and other major phone makers are also losing money. As smartphone sales remain flat, the sector is starting to consolidate, with just a few winners and many more losers.