LG slashes 2011 smartphone, handset sales targets

LG Electronics sharply cut its full-year sales targets for both smartphones and handsets overall, a sign that the company is still struggling to find its footing in the smartphone market.

The South Korean firm now expects to sell 24 million smartphones this year, down from a previous target of 30 million units; the company expects to sell 114 million handset units overall, well below its previous target of 150 million units, according to Park Jong Seok, the head of LG's mobile communications division.

Park told reporters at a media briefing that the company's products have not been selling as well as those of LG's competitors, but said the company will continue to push ahead with smartphones. "It's true that our (smartphones) are not gaining as much popularity as our rivals' products, but we will continue to roll out high-end products in the latter half (of the year)," Park said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

LG shipped almost 50 million total handsets in the first half of the year, and a little more than 10 million of those were smartphones, Park said. In the first quarter, LG said it shipped 24.5 million handsets.

Park declined to say when LG's handset business will turn around, though he said it is improving.

LG was slower to push high-end smartphones than competitors such as HTC and Samsung, and has been playing catch up. However, the headwinds the company is facing remain strong. "The next few quarters are going to be brutal," CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood told Reuters. "Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) are cutting prices and margins to stem eroding market share while others such as Samsung see a window of opportunity to grab share. It's a storm that will undoubtedly result in some high-profile casualties."

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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