x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The electronics manufacturer is looking to open 20 more stores across the region.

An LG OLED TV on display at GITEX Shopper at Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
An LG OLED TV on display at GITEX Shopper at Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

South Korea’s LG is predicting 10 per cent growth in the Middle East.

Personalisation is the key to growth for LG next year as the electronics manufacturer looks to open 20 more stores across the region.

The company is experimenting with washing machines that can hold just a few items suited to one person and smart televisions with an antique style exterior that is said to be more in tune with viewers’ preferences.

“We are considering more personalised devices. People want their devices to be more suited to their lifestyles,” said DY Kim, the president of LG Electronics Gulf.

The growth target represents a doubling of LG’s retail presence in the Middle East. It currently has 20 stores, including three in the Emirates, and all of which sell LG products exclusively. The business’s local partner is Al Sayegh Brothers.

As the market for smartphones and tablets especially grows bigger, manufacturers are increasingly looking at different price points, sizes and colours to segment the market and attract new customers. Taiwan’s Samsung, the world’s current market leader in smartphone shipments, has adopted a strategy of launching a flagship device followed by similar but cheaper products within the same family and brand name. Nokia has also adopted this strategy and LG is looking to do the same.

LG’s latest phone is the G Flex, an ergonomically designed phone deigned to suit the curvature of a human face.

Its critics, among them Adriana Rangel,the research director of systems and infrastructure solutions at the research firm IDC Middle East, say that while it may appeal to some people, it is not suited to people who keep their phone in their pockets.

“People want to be exclusive and different, and manufacturers are targeting the need for our individuality as human beings,” said Ms Rangel.

By offering a wider range of phones, LG is hoping to reach the third spot in mobile sales by 2015.

“We are growing strongly, but we are like a schoolboy that needs to be taken care of and needs a good education. What this means is we need to invest in brand image and need to have the right, differentiated products,” said Mr Kim.

The company however still relies on its television sector for the bulk of its sales. More than 60 per cent of its television sales are Smart TVs, which have internet connectivity and can also be connected to other devices in the household.

This level of machine-to-machine communication will play a big role in the future, said Mr Kim, and greater connectivity was one of LG’s key strategies to increase sales.

“We are on track to meet the target for this market. Even with the political instability in Egypt and Syria, we have achieved higher than 10 per cent sales,” he said.

LG is targeting growth of a further 10 per cent next year, which it hopes to achieve with more stores.

“We will open almost 20 new stores next year, we have already opened more than 20 branded shops across the Middle East where we have achieved premium sales. We will continue this investment until we get our final target.”

thamid@thenational.ae