May 26, 2022

It turns out that the smartphone market can still surprise you – up to a point. You can almost certainly find out which of the two companies is now ranked first and second in the US market. However, since Motorola has secured third place, you’ll forgive yourself for the double look when you hear the new numbers from the Counterpoint Research show.

This decade has been a tough one for the brand, especially a decade or two. A big name at the turn of the millennium, but in this post-iPhone world, the company had a hard time. After heavy losses, Motorola split in two and sold its mobile division to Google in 2011. As with Google hardware, the phone company changed hands again three years later.

Lenovo has been a more stable home for the former brand. The successes may be partly due to the decision to avoid the high end market segment dominated by the aforementioned brands. Brazil and India in particular have become important markets for the company. America also remains a stronghold – and the reduction in the herd at the mid-range and budget levels has created a void that the company is only too happy to fill.

In 2021, Motorola posted a huge year-on-year growth of 131%, according to Counterpoint data. Thus, the company ranks second in the US in the production of smartphones under $400 and third in the overall standings. In particular, phones under $300 are gaining popularity, with Moto taking about $10 of the entire market.

image credit: Study of counterpoint

This is not a return to the dominance of 2008, but the company’s best achievement since the arrival of the smartphone in the phone market. Prepaid operators such as Metro, Cricket and Boost have played a big role – they now control about 28% of this market. But the most important thing is the names that are not here. These have been a strange few years for the industry, and Lenovo was clearly in a good position to strike.

After Huawei was added to the list of US entities, Huawei is hardly a factor. After selling most of its R&D to Google (to them again?), HTC has pretty much quietly entered this “good night” by choosing to focus on VR (the jury is still out on this move). But the biggest no-shower is LG.

Last April, the South Korean hardware company pulled out of the smartphone market entirely. “Going forward, LG will continue to leverage its expertise in mobile technologies and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to further enhance its competitiveness in other business segments. Key technologies developed over two decades of LG’s mobile business will also be retained and applied to existing and future products,” the company said at the time.

This move appears to have completely opened up a gap in Motorola’s size in the market. The smartphone maker’s success has also been aided by its legacy brand status. That is, while it may have faded from consciousness a bit, there is still enough goodwill from its glory days to speed up the buying decision. If you’re on a budget and find yourself buying a $300 phone, Walmart says, you’ll likely be drawn to the name you recognize, even if it was Razer glory decades ago. and you know what? You can’t go wrong. The company still has a decent track record of making solid budget phones.

So yes, call it a comeback. I definitely won’t stop you.

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