Devices > Smartphones Blog



LG G7 ThinQ Finally Available but Price Limits Uptake to LG Loyalists

by David Kerr | May 25, 2018

Weeks after the much hyped reveal (of the heavily leaked) G7 ThinQ in New York and Seoul, latest iteration of LG smartphones are beginning to hit the markets. In the US pre-orders started at Verizon (24th May) and T-Mobile and Sprint. (25th). AT&T is notably missing having decided not to slot the G7 ThinQ in favor of waiting on a reportedly "exclusive"  device later this summer (rumored to be V30 thin).

While the G7 ticks the major boxes from a technology perspective, its fate will be determined by marketing and promotion especially in the US market which accounts for over half LG sales.

Unfortunately, LG yet again has over priced the product with US operators offering the G7 for approximately $750 through the usual range of installment plans and lease options.

G7 SMARTPHONE


The G7 ThinQ is a solid device with an excellent wide area camera, excellent superbright mode and a good but not great display.  However, LG simply does not command the sort of brand premium available to Samsung, Apple in the US market or indeed around the world.

At $750 price point, the G7 ThinQ is priced at least $100 too high relative to the Samsung S9 in the US. In global markets, LG needs to be priced competitively with Huawei which is much more a direct rival. Both LG and Huawei lack the brand name, brand experience and cumulative advertising benefit to command top pricing. Neither Huawei nor LG have a clear or understood brand identity which results in limited consumer pull walking into retail.

The LG G7 ThinQ has the now mandatory dabbling with AI in the camera features. The AI cam on the LG G7 ThinQ is likely all the current versions from leading vendors rudimentary in the extreme. 

The AI cam feature on LG's device much like Samsung, Huawei and others is a nice but limited first foray and we expect it to improve significantly over time. Casual camera/imaging and selfie users will enjoy the convenience of auto identified dogs, flowers, fruit, sunrises, sunsets for better photos but this feature has already largely become table stakes in our view. 

LG has brought its signature strong audio performance to the LG G7 and has boldly experimented with one massive speaker encompassing the entire back of the device as a resonance chamber providing impressive boombox capabilities. 

The LG G7 grows in satisfaction with use based on my experience due to its large, bright display and excellent fit in hand.  Our Consumer Sentiment Analytics service will be evaluating the G7 customer feedback in the coming weeks to compare the device with both the G6 and other flagship devices in terms of user experience.

LG dodged a bullet with the brewing trade skirmishes between US and China temporarily at least preventing the world’s number three vendor Huawei from entering. Additionally, the enforced exile of ZTE opens a window of opportunity in the mid-tier volume segments in US and worldwide. For the G7 ThinQ to succeed in a market dominated by its larger South Korean rival, LG must aggressively expand its advertising and marketing and operator channel support. Most importantly, LG needed to price realistically which it has not.

The gap between LG and Apple and Samsung in terms of brand identity is smartphones is huge.

How willing is LG to invest in creative new marketing campaigns directly and with operators?

Can LG overcome its huge brand disadvantage, inferior brand conversion metrics and significant retail representative inertia to significantly impact market share?

While LG has temporarily seen Huawei and ZTE threats blunted in the US, it will face stronger competition from Nokia, Motorola, Google and Xiaomi this year. LG desperately needs volume but the G7 is not the product to provide volume. Other LG products for the mid tier filling the gap left by the exit of ZTE and  Huawei could well gain share if LG moves fast and aggressively and accepts that they are simply not perceived to be a premium brand. However, the slow, dull rollout of G7 in line with previous launches, depending on operators rather than taking a leadership role does not inspire confidence. 

Samsung loudly proclaims its firsts, it new products, its technology leadership. Apple is best user experience, a thought leader despite being largely a more conservative follower in terms of technology. There is a large cluster of Chinese vendors vying for leadership in the category which can be called Value based innovation with Huawei noticeably separating from the pack due to its international success. Then there are legacy brands in smartphones like LG, Motorola, Nokia (HMD) and of course Google itself.

In summary, a solid but uninspiring product, delivered late to market with weak marketing and promotion almost certainly means the G7 will struggle to reach the volumes of its predecessor. 

Clients to our Wireless Strategies Service can read our full analysis of the outlook for LG G7 here

Previous Post: China Drags vivo Down in Q1 2018 but International Expansion Offers Upside | Next Post: HMD Enjoyed Robust Growth in Volume and ASP in Q1 2018, but Can It Sell Nokia in the US?
Leave a comment