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Motorola Becomes Third-Largest Smartphone Vendor in the US

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Motorola invented the cell phone, but it fell behind during the early smartphone era. The Google acquisition probably saved it, but it continued to slide under the ownership of Lenovo. Until LG stumbled, that is. New data from Counterpoint Research shows Motorola has risen in the ranks to become the third-largest smartphone maker in the US. It’s a distant third-place finish, but that’s still impressive. 

Counterpoint’s data runs through the end of 2021, showing Moto steadily gaining market share month after month throughout 2021. Not coincidentally, that’s just when LG began quietly spinning down its mobile division. The first rumors of LG’s exit percolated in early 2021, and by April it was official. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s when Counterpoint says Motorola captured the top spot. 

By the time LG dropped its Android phone division, it hadn’t had a hit flagship in years. However, it was still in a strong third-place position thanks to its budget phones, which were popular with carriers. It just so happens that Motorola began focusing much more on the budget segment last year — it didn’t even release a true flagship phone in 2021, and it’s been about 18 months since it released a foldable Razr. 

According to Counterpoint, Moto’s newfound success is thanks to devices like the Moto G Stylus, Moto G Power, and Moto G Pure, all of which are priced at $300 or less. Carriers also value Moto for its low return rates and ability to ramp up production volume quickly. This has boosted Motorola to a respectable 10 percent of the US market, which has healthier margins than many larger markets in the developing world. 

Samsung has more than double Moto’s market share at 22 percent, holding steady throughout 2021. Apple doesn’t license its software to OEMs, so it has the entirety of the iOS market at 58 percent. Motorola isn’t likely to put a dent in that anytime soon, but it could continue this new growth by bringing more desirable flagship phones to the market to compete with the Galaxy S and iPhone lines. Motorola just released its first flagship phone since 2020, a new version of the Edge+. However, its $1,000 price tag is still a tough sell when you can get a high-end Samsung or Apple phone for a bit less.

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