“Customers will not only make the price the criterion, but what are the requirements”

For most of the past two years, the sale of PCs, including laptops and desktops, has increased significantly. From a state of perceived irrelevance to alternatives, such as more portable tablets with bolt-on keyboard mounts, laptops have come back with a vengeance. And the same goes for desktops, for anyone who wants a bigger screen for long hours of work from home.

Nearly 50% growth in the PC market comes from the new demands of work and home study. Interspersed with a few games too.

In a conversation with HT, Ketan Patel, Managing Director of HP India, spoke about comments that have become common across the customer demographics: Tablets don’t perform as well as productivity or business devices. online education, and people don’t want it. for their children’s work or school.

Patel also spoke about PC market trends, India’s unique PC penetration challenges and how Indians are buying more expensive computing devices than ever before. Here are some edited excerpts:

Q. Was this momentum only from 2020 or have we seen significant continued growth? What do you think of the evolution of the PC market?

We are coming out of a very strong year as an industry. The computer and printing industry has experienced unprecedented growth in the past year. On the IT side, it was an overall increase. On the printing side, largely the home printing category but not so much office printing. I would say that over the past 15-18 months, PCs have provided the best of working, learning, and playing like never before. And that took a category, which was pretty much stagnant over the past five to seven years, to a very different level of growth.

In India alone, if I look at IDC data for the last four quarters (research firm International Data Corporation tracks shipments of computing devices), the market is growing at a rate of about 45-47% a year. on the other. This is pretty solid growth, a testament to PCs powering what I just said, the best in working, learning, and playing, which is a requirement in today’s hybrid world. ‘hui.

Q. How price sensitive are buyers? Is there a willingness to spend a little more to make a purchase sustainable?

We have always believed that India is a market concerned with value rather than price. And I think one of the things that has fundamentally changed over the last 15-18 months is that customers understand the importance of why they are switching to laptops. Some people have tablets, some people used cell phones to use the internet and home learning type applications. But now people have realized that if you have to spend long hours in front of a laptop computer, you definitely need a productive product.

A product that offers seamless connectivity, which is secure because security is a big challenge today, and a product that gives you a world-class experience. You also want a product that can actually help you seamlessly connect to the ecosystem, like plugging in a single cable and you can connect to large displays.

Read also: The year to come: privacy, connectivity will define our technological interactions

Customers have now realized that for their particular needs, they will not compromise on them … and therefore, they will not only make price the criterion, but what the requirements are. Now, within this framework, of course, they will go for the best brand, as well as the best price. It is a market in full maturity. This is why you see that the price range has changed dramatically. India was not a market for ??50,000 to ??70,000 laptops. In the past, our average prices were in the range of ??30,000 to ??40,000. It’s quite different now because people understand the importance of a better processor, better screen, higher memory, SSD, or some of those security features in the world. confidentiality.

This fundamental has happened because people have made productivity and experience their primary requirements rather than just looking at price as the starting point.

Q. Has the way we work, play and study changed?

Regardless of whether people return to the office or the students return to school, the fundamental way of working has changed forever. And it will be the hybrid world, as you would have seen announcements from many companies that they will resume their functions but never at full capacity. They want their employees to operate in a hybrid world. They saw improved productivity and the fundamental benefits of working from home or anywhere over just working in the office.

With schools adopting blended learning, even though schools are returning 100% to classrooms, there are some digital learning benefits that teachers and students have realized. It will also put a lot of demands on PCs.

Q. What categories of PCs see maximum traction?

I think this whole trend of digital learning, the trend to work from anywhere, or hybrid work, whatever you call it, is contributing to this fundamental growth in India. Unlike many other savings … [India] always had low PC penetration. This, in a sense, had triggered an emergency to get on the IT bandwagon for people who weren’t there yet. [That’s] because the kind of productivity and the kind of efficiency that you get from a computer product, you can’t get it through any other internet device.

This is what I think is a major achievement, which is the engine of this growth. HP has had a very solid year, if I compare the last four quarters. We have grown faster and our market share according to IDC has averaged 29.9% over the past four quarters. It is four and a half points ahead of the second competitor (Editor’s note: IDC data sets HP at an average share of 29.9% in the last quarter, while Dell follows with 24.2% and Lenovo with 18 , 1%).

Q. What were the buying trends in education? What are parents and students looking for specifically?

There are two parts. Parents watch some things, kids watch some things, and then we have parents as well as kids who are evaluating the productive hours that can provide. Imagine someone is in a classroom and the product is not working properly. If the product becomes an obstacle to the education process, it is a massive loss.

Second, they look at which product and according to the size of the house will give long hours of comfort. So, some people are okay with the laptop. Some people want to buy all-in-one (AIO) machines because they want a bigger screen. Some also want to ensure that large screens are visible to parents.

The other thing concerns the quality of the display, the ergonomics, the camera and the microphone as well as the privacy functions. And then consumers look at fundamentals like a brand’s ability to provide a service over a shorter period of time. Of course, this should fit within their budget depending on the type of need they require.

One thing we realize is that they have no choice but to go for a laptop or a desktop or an all-in-one. Parents have realized that learning based on tablets and smartphones is definitely forbidden because it is not possible for students to be productive with these devices.


    Vishal Mathur is a technology writer for Hindustan Times. When he doesn’t make sense of technology, he often seeks elusive analog space in a digital world.
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