Growth momentum of the PC industry is likely to continue: HP India

Venkatesha Babu | | Updated on: Dec 12, 2021
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Between 2013-2019, the global personal computer (PC) market – which includes notebooks, desktops and workstations – saw a de-growth. Even in India, which has low penetration, the growth was hardly anything to go by. There was talk of mobilephones being the first computing device for most people as they leapfrogged PCs.

However, once the pandemic struck, forcing work, education and entertainment to go online, the PC market in India began to show spectacular growth. According to IDC, in the third quarter of the current calendar year, a total of 4.5 million PCs were shipped in India, which was more than the yearly consumer shipments in 2019. This is inspite of supply and logistical constraints due to global chip shortage. HP maintained its overall lead in the PC market, with a 28.5 per cent market share, according to IDC. Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems of HP India, who has been leading the company’s charge, tells BusinessLine why the PC market has been doing well and what lies ahead for the company and industry. Excerpts:

The PC market has been very good overall. Once people return to ‘normal’ work and study life, can this growth momentum be sustained?

It has been obviously spectacular a couple of years for the PC industry. A lot of customers in India were using mobile phones, and as they went up the curve, they realised the value proposition and utility of a PC.

People have had to work from home, learn from home, even earn from home. Everyone now knows how a PC adds value to our day-to-day life, given that it is a device that essentially powers your external life from home.

Not just for the family, but individually. So, not only has the PC clearly emerged as essential, it has also become a one-on-one device, especially now in the current consumption phenomena, whether you have your online meetings or your education or even entertainment. Everything is personalised with your own stream of YouTube and Netflix and Zoom meetings and calendars. It is no longer a device that you could share for a few hours between different users.

HP’s vision has always been to empower and drive experiences for our users. We see the future of work, the future of learning, the future of earning – all staying hybrid. We see a tremendous amount of growth ahead of us as the penetration of PCs in India still low, especially as you go away from the big cities.

PC penetration is nowhere near the scale (of) mobile phones. So, we see a massive amount of growth ahead of us, across corporate customers, small business and consumers. Within those newer segments such as content creators, gamers, super users, all looking to either buy their first PC for themselves or the family or upgrading a device.

We see very strong growth in units as well as in terms of average unit price over the last couple of years. It is like every quarter we have the single biggest quarter for quite some time.

There was a perception that mobiles would replace PCs and that PCs are dead?

PCs are complementary to mobile phones; we have always maintained they are not either/or devices. As you look at the journey of the Indian customer. The proposition of the PC was about productivity, learning, aspiration, becoming a better you and that sustained over the over the years. It is a multi-purpose device that lets you do many things very well all at the same time. It lets you personalise experiences in a much more stronger enabled way than a smaller screen device possibly could, without the the limitations of being on calls. The value proposition is a fundamentally different. One is more about deep work, meaningful work. The other one is more about consumption.

What segments of the market are doing better – is it SMBs, enterprise or consumers?

I think there are about 65-70 million SMBs that don’t have a PC of any shape or size in the country. Even as bigger companies also come back their ratio of devices to people isn’t necessarily 100 per cent. There is scope even in larger companies and there will be a need for business continuity plans, going forward. We are still in the midst of this phenomena, with new variants and new ambiguity still emerging.

I think the learning has been is you need to be prepared especially the bigger you are. All of those trends and data points suggest that the demand is going to be robust. Also, we already have a new upgrade base of customers. So, you have these two dynamics of of new customers and those who are looking to upgrade as they go forward. I think sub segments such as gaming, for sure, has been the highest growing, though on a smaller base.

So is the case with content creators. On the commercial side, we’ve seen a very high growth on our workstation products.

Has supply-chain constraints, especially semiconducters, impacted the sector?

As demand took off exponentially, it took some time for the supply to catch up. The industry has responded very strongly. I think all the way from all the ecosystem, the competent manufacturers, the OEMs, everybody has done a good job, so it is beginning to balance. However, like I said, the demand is still strong and anticipated to be strong, but (supply) now is more balanced now than it was at the start of the demand upsurge.

Published on December 12, 2021

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