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Counterpoint: Motorola becomes number three smartphone maker in US

A combination of LG's exit from the smartphone game and Motorola's continued success in the budget device category powered an impressive rise, hitting the number three spot on top smartphone manufacturers in the US at the end of 2021.
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Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on
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Counterpoint Research

The latest measurement of smartphone sales in the US from Counterpoint Research shows that Motorola became the third-largest smartphone brand in the US during the 2021 calendar year. 

According to Counterpoint's charts, this quiet, yet impressive, climb puts it behind only Apple and Samsung with a 10% share of the market by year's end. Meanwhile, Apple continued to dominate the US market with 58% and Samsung held a distant second with 22%. 

Motorola's rise was partially driven by the former third-place holder, LG, which exited the smartphone arena in early 2021. 

However, the success of the company's own sub-$300 smartphones also played a major role, according to Counterpoint. The offering of budget-friendly smartphones, as well as its reliance on selling unlocked units that can easily be ported to new carriers, helped Motorola quickly take advantage of LG's exit, passing it back in April 2021 and maintaining its new slot ever since. 

Also: Smartphone sales show first growth since 2017 in new Counterpoint Research report

Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Varun Mishra also noted Motorola's unique success among pre-paid providers, saying 

Motorola has grown its market share in the large US prepaid channels (Verizon Prepaid, Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket and Boost) to 28%. Our Consumer Lens research shows Motorola remains a very trusted and known brand. Prepaid consumer studies have shown users look for value, dependability and long battery life. Motorola scores well on these criteria.

The analyst went on to say that it is now key for Motorola to leverage this success to grow its higher-priced smartphones. However, they also warned that this will be a difficult task due to the "stranglehold Apple and Samsung have on the US market." 

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