Today Acer is one of the world’s top ICT companies and has a presence in over 160 countries. As Acer looks into the future, it is focused on enabling a world where hardware, software and services will fuse with one another to open up new possibilities for consumers and businesses alike. In an interaction with Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India about the trends of PC industry and company’s initiatives.
What are the overall performances of Acer in the Indian PC market?
The Indian PC market today has transformed, and there’s been a lot of innovation in the PC space along with other categories in the market. There are huge innovations happening in PCs, whether it’s around design or security. When we talk about core innovation, we are also seeing new innovations around mobility, including the shift towards 5G. People are finding that a PC is an ideal device where you need high performance locally. For instance, PC gaming continues to grow and is high on performance. It’s driving a lot of PC-based innovation and experiences. In the education space where you cannot really have that kind of expense to have a high performance, there is also a resurgence in PCs with operating systems like Chrome that requires internet connectivity. Hence, with internet connectivity, you can target at a much lower price point with a PC. Also, as IoT is growing, you will have smart devices all around you. Automotive is going to have high-performance PCs and eventually will have servers embedded directly in them.
Our strategy is simple – to drive innovations and create the most exciting devices in the market. We are also building the most intelligent cooling solutions in laptops through technologies like Predator sense, which is a software control hub, and the Predator sound system which provides value to our gaming audience. Acer India has been at the forefront of pushing PC gaming envelope with our Predator and Nitro series. Predator 21X, Orion 9000, Predator Thronos chair are halo products that showcase Acer’s prowess in developing cutting edge gaming PCs. Acer holds the No.1 position in the Indian gaming market by growing the market share across our gaming products. This is a result of Acer’s strong focus on innovation and commitment to offering cutting edge gaming products to Indian customers.
What are the trends that you see may impact PC industry in current year?
Emerging technology trends can seem both elusive and temporary, but some become integral to business and IT strategies forming the backbone of tomorrow’s technology innovation. PCs are enjoying a resurgence over the last few years, and few key technology trends have emerged which will shape the PC industry in 2019 and beyond. Here are the two main trends we have noticed this year.
• 5G for laptops: The 5G era has clearly begun as more and more companies are introducing their 5G devices to the people. It’s not just smartphones, we are going to see 5G powered laptops as well. PCs will also be getting 5G and will open the doors to a whole new world of possibilities that could reshape the way we use computers.
• Wi-Fi 6: Wi-Fi is nearly ubiquitous for connecting mobile laptops, tablets and other devices to enterprise networks. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the latest version of Wi-Fi and brings the promise of increased speed, low latency, improved aggregate bandwidth, and advanced traffic management.
What have been the major achievements of Acer in the last few years?
2018 has been as Acer has successfully maintained the position of the No. 1 PC laptop Gaming Brand. This is a result of Acer’s strong focus on innovation and commitment to offering cutting edge gaming products to Indian customers. The last few years have been amazing for us at Acer, as we came up with some marquee launches including Gaming laptops, All-in-Ones, convertibles, gaming chair, etc. At IFA, we unveiled path-breaking products like the Predator Thronos – World’s 1st Gaming Cave. Swift 5, World’s Lightest 15” inch notebook. OJO 500, the first Windows Mixed Reality headset and the first Virtual Reality headset to feature a detachable design, and a refreshed series of Aspire notebooks and Nitro monitors. We also recently organized one of the biggest gaming events in the country – The Predator Gaming League, where we saw the largest PUBG PC LAN tournament and DOTA2 finale. Likewise, we also worked closely with government and research institutions like IIT, IISc, etc. to deploy supercomputers for complex research requirements. One such supercomputer is ParamIshan which we developed for IIT-G. This helped us spread our foothold across the IT sector – right from innovative laptops to supercomputers.
We have been doing quite a lot in the VR, IoT and cloud industry, by providing solutions such as aBeing cloud, which handles your information securely and provides a reliable infrastructure upon which to build a network of Beings. With our unique services and solutions, aBeing Cloud is simplifying your life and business. Acer has further created solutions using AI and Big Data to ease transportation woes of big cities. Right from developing the smart taxi operation platform which provides popular pickup spot analysis and passenger demand forecast for taxi drivers, to Intelligent Parking Solutions aimed at finding vacant parking spots for citizens without navigating aimlessly in the streets.
How does Acer view esports as a segment in India?
India’s gaming industry underwent a major makeover in the early ’90s, with gaming consoles as well as gaming parlours. Games such as Call of Duty, FIFA, Counter-Strike, and DOTA are known for their high quality, action, and multiplayer themes that were developed in the western markets but also attracted Indian gamers. Today, the industry has come full surround with PC gaming taking center stage yet again. As the global economy rides the wave of digital transformation, the online gaming industry in India is expected to generate a revenue of INR 11,900 Cr by the financial year 2023, growing at a CAGR of 22%. Also, the Indian mindset is changing and accepting gaming as a profession and not as a distracting hobby for their sons/daughters. PC gaming is fast becoming a favourable choice among gaming enthusiasts, and this shift can be attributed to factors such as a young population, quality of gameplay, affordability, availability of top-end hardware and software, and improved internet bandwidth. Acer has entered the market at the right time with a wide range of products under the Predator series. Our schemes are helping budding and pro gamers to make ownership more easy through our finance schemes, free accessories, extended warranties, etc. We are also sponsoring key gaming events in India to enhance awareness. Acer has two lines of gaming laptops, one is the Helios and the other is Nitro. Nitro is for casual gamers, priced between Rs. 70,000 – Rs. 80,000 and Helios is the high-end gaming line, for hardcore gamers. Acer has also launched a series of gaming accessories to further enhance the gaming experience.
Today, we’ve seen a surge in the sale of gaming specific devices. Do Indians buy gaming laptops over performance notebooks?
The trend is definitely changing as we have seen a surge in the sales of gaming-specific devices. At Acer, all our gaming devices are equipped with a powerful processor, top-line graphics card, fast storage and ample amounts of RAM with a high definition screen, which makes it an all-rounder. Though the products have been designed from a gamer’s point of view, he can also complete his day-to-day tasks as well as heavy-duty tasks like photo and video editing, which even a performance-oriented laptop will struggle to do.
What is your roadmap for 2019-2020?
For the year 2019-20, Acer’s major focus is going to revolve around Gaming. We will be launching products that are unique to the market and are at the forefront of technology. Acer India is pushing the PC gaming envelope with our Helios, Triton, and Nitro series, where each one of them caters to the varying specifications of gamers. Acer also has taken a leadership position when it comes to cooling technology in PCs. This is a critical need for gamers to ensure consistent performance. Along with this, Acer has been able to create an entire ecosystem of gaming devices starting from laptops, desktops, monitors, gaming chair, Thronos, and accessories like mouse, headset, mouse pad, etc., which none of our competitors provide. We also plan to continue introducing our thin & light devices, which is a preference for most of the refresh buyers in the market. In the coming years, bulky laptops will be gradually done away with and slim and light laptops will be the way forward. Acer is becoming a more holistic player in the technology industry and entering into a PC+ era.
Coming to our retail bit, we aim to further enhance our in-store customer experience to make it more hassle-free. Product demos with experienced in-store guides will help our customers in better buying experience of our products. Acer has always been a technology player that has introduced the world to newer technologies and will continue to do the same. We consider our IoT products to cater to a segment that will really benefit from our expertise and not just be limited to fancy or expensive solutions. Acer has become synonymous with making bold and unconventional bets, often charting the course of the broader technology ecosystem.
Acer’s passion for innovation and customer-centricity has taken the company to unprecedented levels, and the company is well poised to change growth orbits, and venture into new horizons in the coming years.