LG sold an impressive 13.2 million smartphones in Q4 2013, but still no profit

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 27, 2014

LG Brand CES 2014 AA-2

Good smartphone sales could not help LG obtain a profit from its mobile business in the last quarter of 2013.

LG announced today results for Q4 2013, and they are a mixed bag. While strong TV sales in the peak season following Black Friday helped the company bag an operating profit of $220 million in October-December, high expenditures meant that net profit was actually negative, at $59 million. Across the company, sales were up 7.4 percent from last quarter and 0.8 percent from the same quarter last year.

While TVs did better than expected, enabling LG to beat the predictions of analysts polled by Reuters, its mobile business brought in a small operating loss of -1.2 percent or $40 million. That’s compared to the same time last year, when LG’s smartphone business registered an operating margin of 4.1 percent.

LG attributes the loss in its mobile business to high marketing costs for the promotion of the G2, G Pro, and G Flex. Indeed, sales are up, and by a margin: 13.2 million units, 54 percent more than Q4 2012 and nine percent more than Q3 2013.

lg q4 2013

As Android fans, the good news is LG – Google’s favorite OEM, according to my colleague Simon Hill – is selling phones like hot cakes, even though it can’t muster enough revenue to offset costs just yet. LG has impressed us with the G2 and Nexus 5, while the G Flex is pioneering a new form factor that could gain prominence in the future.

For the first part of 2014, LG is planning a new flagship in the G Pro 2, which it confirmed to debut at MWC 2014 Barcelona in the last week of February. We’ve also heard persistent rumors of an accelerate release of the G3, with a possible launch by early summer, but that’s only gossip so far.

  • Herb_Eaversmells

    Good stuff, LG makes great phones.

    • Jaun Lombard

      Correction: LG is making good phones today

      • Tuấn Ankh

        Can’t agree more. The LG Mytouch 4G and the LG Doubleplay drove me crazy, lol.
        Now LG makes good phones (from my experience of playing with their phones at the store…). Man, even the LG Optimus F3 is smooth as heck. To be honest, I had a feeling it was as smooth as the Nexus 4. Anyway, I didn’t play with it long enough though, so I could be wrong.

      • Jesus

        …and beautiful ones. They’ve always had beautiful ones.

      • joser116

        LG has always made great hardware, it’s just that their software was not up to par.
        Furthermore, the Nexus 4, G2, and Nexus 5 have greatly helped LG’s reputation.

      • Herb_Eaversmells

        Yes that’s what I was saying lol

  • Jayfeather787

    Awesome. I think that LG phones have some of the best displays out there, and now the hardware is excellent. The G2 and Nexus 5 are excellent phones.

  • RanRu

    So they spent all of their profits on advertising? Well, hopefully it pays off in the future. I can’t say it wasn’t necessary, though. Many of their old phones were particularly dreadful (Phoenix, Optimus M, MyTouch 4G), so winning consumer’s confidence in their brand back is going to be an uphill battle.