LG Electronics shipped a record 10.3 million smartphones in the first quarter and its total handset sales, including feature phones and smartphones, were up nearly 31 percent from the year-ago period.
An LG spokeswoman said the company shipped a total of 16.2 million handsets in the first quarter. The company said that overall handset sales soared 30.6 percent year-over-year to $2.86 billion. In the first quarter of 2012, LG shipped 13.7 million total handset units. .
LG said that its handset unit reported an operating profit of around $118.9 million, up from $27.7 million in the year-ago quarter. The company said healthy sales of its LTE smartphones such as the Optimus G and Optimus G Pro along with 3G smartphones including the Optimus L Series and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 4 contributed to the improved results.
LG CFO David Jung said the company is looking to improve its market share in the U.S. smartphone market, where Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics have a tight grip. "The reason for our weak market share in the U.S. is that we could not lock mobile operators during the first quarter," Jung said, referring to deals with carriers to carry its phones. "But from the second quarter when we release the new Optimus G, we will see an improvement in U.S. handset revenues."
To that end, LG is hosting a "Share the Genius" event May 1 in New York City where it is expected to announce the U.S. availability for the LG Optimus G Pro. The LTE-capable G Pro sports a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display and includes new video recording features. Still, LG is under pressure not only from Apple and Samsung but also from the HTC One, which HTC is pushing heavily, especially in the U.S. market.
For the full-year 2012, LG ranked as the No. 5 handset maker overall, according to IDC, with 3.3 percent global market share and 55.9 million shipments. However, those figures were down from 5.1 percent market share and 88.1 million unit shipments in 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012 Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei booted LG out of the top five handset rankings, behind Samsung, Apple and Nokia (NYSE:NOK).
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Correction, April 24, 2013: This article incorrectly referred to the number of smartphones LG shipped in the first quarter of 2013. It was 10.3 million.
Article updated April 25 with information from LG on its total handset shipments for the first quarter.