LG’s plans to sell iPhones at its Best Shop locations have been put on hold following a public outcry from small and medium-sized businesses. The South Korean government has a policy to protect smaller retailers by keeping giants like Samsung and LG from selling competing products in the stores they own.
The concern is that if they do, these larger retail outlets will lure customers away from the smaller ones – and they are already quite vulnerable due to the pandemic.
Of course, Samsung was not a fan of this plan either, as it feared that the expanded availability of iPhones would threaten its domestic market share of 5G phones. LG has over 400 best stores around the country.
LG also has some internal concerns. Sales of Apple products draw labor and distribution channel resources away from LG products. There is also the idea that smartphone sales affect sales of household appliances (especially those with smart features associated with a particular platform), so a loss of phone sales could also hurt other businesses – something that should worry both LG and Samsung.
There are also stories of disagreements between Apple and LG, which are further reasons to delay things. While LG wanted to have Apple gadgets in all its best stores, Cupertino pushed to only get the deal to cover approx. 200 stores as other locations did not meet its requirements.
LG has reportedly stopped training its employees who were preparing to sell Apple products (including iPads and Apple Watches). Whether this plan will be resumed after the pandemic is not clear – for now LG calls this a “temporary” suspension.