Despite several sectors shrinking in 2020-22 due to Covid-19, the laptop market seems to have grown by 10-15% each year in India
According to surveys, the PC shipments, particularly laptop shipments, continue to grow year of after year since the outbreak Covid in 2020. Even though the Covid-19 pandemic affected several segments negatively, the laptop maintained its upward trajectory, driven by the Work From Home, Study From Home the increasing trend of gaming. This sudden increase in the demand and sales of laptops is a worldwide phenomenon. India is one of the biggest markets for consumer, commercial and also for gaming laptops. The online classes conducted by the schools, colleges and educations Institutions are also a major driver behind the spike in demand for laptops and accessories. Most of the companies have adopted various marketing strategies to make life easy and productive for all groups – students, employees and entrepreneurs.
NCN has spoken to some leading laptop brands to know their opinions, insights, marketing strategies and future plans.
Trends in the laptop market in the last 2 years and the expected growth
After the outbreak of Covid in March 2020, many industrial segments suffered stagnation or decline, but the adoption laptops increased by leaps and bounds across all segments in India. Consequently, the demand for laptop peripherals too increased. The trend is expected to continue for several years to come.
According to Mr. Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head of Marketing, Acer India, “While working from home and remote learning have been the big drivers in the laptop segment, people are also turning to laptops for serious gaming and entertainment. The digital transformation our country has undergone over the past 2 years has been unparalleled. The changing consumer behaviour and the increasing computing needs across various consumer and commercial segments will continue to drive the growth of the laptop market over the foreseeable future.”
Mr. Raj Kumar Rishi, VP & MD, Consumer and Small Business, Dell Technologies, India, “The past two years saw a significant increase in terms of laptop adoption in India. According to IDC, the Indian PC market, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, saw a strong shipment growth of 44.5% year-over-year. Dell Technologies grew 47% YoY with a 23.6% share in CY21. We led the enterprise segment with a share of 38%, driven by increased demand from Indian IT/ITES customers and our global accounts. These numbers show the accelerated demand for reliable technology. Talking about Dell globally, our full-year revenue was a record $101.2 billion (FY22), up 17% over the prior year, fuelled by record demand, strong execution, continued growth across all business units, and record PC shipments.”
Ms. Seema Bhatnagar, Regional Business Director (South Asia), Nexstgo Company Limited (a part of VAIO Corporation spinning from Sony’s PC business), “The emergence of many new laptop buyers post-pandemic, especially students pursuing online education and employees shifting to laptops from desktops to manage the smooth workflow from their homes, created a newfound demand for laptops in the market. Since people are defining their new normal by every passing day and are not comfortable heading out, we anticipate this demand to only spike further in the coming times. We are expecting a 5-7% laptop market growth in the near future driven by the latest consumer trends.”
According to Mr. Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Mi India, “The domestic personal computer market in India registered a strong quarter (Oct-Dec 2020) with shipments growing 27% y-o-y to hit 2.9 million units, as per IDC, as e-learning, gaming and work from home (WFH) drove demand. Notebooks shipments witnessed 62.1% y-o-y to contribute more than three-fourths of the total PC shipments in Q4 2020. Similar trends were seen in 2021. With laptops becoming a necessity these days, we expect an increasing uptake in the segment. We anticipate organisations to invest more into buying laptop PCs for their workforce at affordable price-points. We also see demand for notebook PCs picking up since they offer improved mobility in addition to an impressive design.”
Work From Home and Study From Home pushed up the demand for laptops and accessories
Due to the pandemic and the following lockdowns, offices and many businesses asked their employees to work from home. Employees working from home prefer laptops over desktops. In the same way, students who started attending online classes and doing their homework from homes also need laptops. All these factors pushed up the demand for laptops as never before.
Mr. Sooraj Balakrishnan of ACER, “In 2020, the door swung open all of a sudden, and the demand for laptops rose rapidly across different segments and price points due to remote working, remote learning and gaming. Earlier, PCs and laptops were often shared devices but with the work from home and learn from home trends catching up, every member needs their own laptop. Laptop penetration per household has gone up as well with many households adopting laptops. Accessories like wireless earbuds have also seen an increasing uptake. The Acer range of laptops and TW earbuds has seen good success in the market and we will continue to bring in products which allow our customers to live a smarter and connected life. Even though the pandemic seems to be receding, the demand for laptops will continue to rise and WFH, LFH and gaming trends will continue and grow.”
Mr. Raj Kumar Rishi of Dell Technologies, “We continue to witness an increasing reliance on PCs and are cognizant of the momentum that learning, work and game from anywhere still hold. In this era where boundaries are fluid, there is a need for compatible, on-the-move devices which offer portability and continuity. Consumers want smart devices that cater to their diverse lifestyles and stay connected for longer hours. The 2-in-1 form factors are gaining prominence because of the versatility they bring and their ability to seamlessly fit into a creator’s or learner’s lifestyle. Furthermore, gaming has garnered great attention in India over the past few years. With the increased adoption of online gaming, the industry has made its way to Tier II and III cities as well. With these significant changes in the industry, Dell has brought to market appealing designs, thermal innovations, and new product-lines while providing a premium experience to our customers.”
Ms. Seema Bhatnagar of VAIO, “In helping people to conveniently carry on with their work, the SSD-based laptops have made their way to success. The comfort and the convenience along with light-weightiness have aided the laptop industry in gaining more traction. In addition to this, companies are trying to break the monotony with Nexstgo range of laptops. Nexstgo, as a brand,focuses on continuously upgrading the machines with the latest technologies and attractive designs. Nextgo’s portfolio includes best laptops for WFH and SFH.”
According to Mr. Raghu Reddy of Mi India, “Laptops have always been an important entity for working professionals and with the pandemic induced lockdown, the dependency on laptops increased like never before. Today, laptops are not only used for work, they are also used for entertainment, education, lectures, exams and much more. With an aim to empower our users and enable them to use the latest tech, we had introduced the Mi Notebook 14 series in India, which gives consumers a power-packed performance, coupled with minimalistic design and innovative features and has been very well-received by our consumers. In addition, addressing the growing needs of learning from home, we introduced our e-learning edition for young professionals and students with an aim to provide an intuitive and user-friendly experience. We anticipate a massive demand for laptops and notebooks in India from the consumer segment driven by online learning and remote working. We hope that 2022 would be a great year for the laptop segment in India, with multiple players expanding and bringing in more powerful devices into the Indian market.”
The latest innovations and the expected new trends in the laptop segment
With advances in display technology taking place at rapid pace, users are looking for displays that are larger, give sharper and brighter pictures. Another trend is SSDs are replacing the HDDs, because the SSDs have lower latency, higher speed, have no mechanical rotating disks that make noise and deliver superior performance.
Mr. Sooraj Balakrishnan of ACER, “With mobility becoming the norm, users are expecting laptops to respond and behave like a true mobile devices, for example, Acer’s Swift series of laptops have features like instant wake, long battery life, fingerprint reader, edge-to-edge screen etc which deliver the user experience the modern consumer demands along with top-of-the-line performance. We also see SOC processors becoming more popular in laptops and that brings in the efficiency and features like 5G connectivity to the laptops. Innovations will be centred around improving the user experience in every aspect of laptop usage.”
Mr. Raj Kumar Rishi of Dell Technologies, “Some major trends that we have seen in the past years are evolutions around the display. With more and more users experiencing extended screen time, they are demanding displays that are larger, brighter and sharper. OLED screens and bezel-less displays have become the new norm. Hence, we introduced ComfortView Plus panel options with low-blue-light technology to help reduce eye strain without sacrificing display quality. While thinner and lighter PC designs continue to be a prime aspect of newer generation laptops, customers today look for PCs that are intelligent and can adapt to the way they work. In this regard, emerging technologies such as AI and 5G are playing a crucial role in delivering a smart and customized PC experience. Aligning with this trend, we introduced a host of new features in our latest Inspiron range, such as the Lid Open sensor that enables users to experience instant-on functionality when they open their laptop and Dell Mobile Connect which enables users to seamlessly integrate their smartphone and PC.”
Mr. Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer of Mi India, “We observe a booming market, especially for Notebook PCs in India. In Q1 2019, as per IDC, Ultraslim Notebooks category contributed to a 25.3% share of the market, leading to a Y-O-Y growth of 86.5%. This was owing to factors such as improved mobility due to thinness of the product and enhanced aesthetics. We believe the thin and light segment would continue to flourish and the growth trend in laptops will continue in the future driven by WFH.”
Which is your target segment for your laptops?
Some brands have a wide range of laptops that are aimed at several user segments, others target some specific user segments like commercial laptop users, consumers, millennials, students, gamers, etc. The brands also focus on different levels such as entry-level, mid-range and premium level while designing their offerings.
Ms. Seema Bhatnagar of VAIO Corporation, “Our laptop portfolio is targeted at all age groups and professional segments. We endeavour to be a trendsetter for students, Gen Z, millennials and entrepreneurs.”
Mr. Sooraj Balakrishnan of Acer, “Acer is one of the few brands which has laptops for all the segments such as work, learning, gaming, entertainment, SMBs, enterprises, education, banking, government and so on.”
Mr. Raghu Reddy of Mi India, “Our Notebook series are designed for those who are looking at devices offering an amalgamation of gaming, entertainment, education and most importantly improved productivity, who include students, young professionals etc aged between 18- 35 years.”
Brand Positioning and Differentiators or USPs
Brand positioning and the image they have already developed plays an important role how a brand can sell their products. It also matters how they position their brand on online and offline channels, their pricing vis-à-vis their competitors, marketing and promotion strategy.
Mr. Raj Kumar Rishi of Dell Technologies, “Our strategy is to maintain Dell’s tech leadership through an always-on approach when connecting with our customers. At Dell Technologies, customers are always at the core of everything we do and we are committed to ensuring that there is no disruption in the way they purchase our PCs. Our goal has always been to provide the best technology in PCs that aligns with the needs of the diverse customers and their lifestyles. Our omni-channel strategy and a robust partner ecosystem help us cover offline and online touchpoints depending on wherever our customers like to buy right from our pan India presence of Dell Exclusive Stores, Dell.com, multi-brand outlets, large format retail, to e-commerce platforms. We have also introduced ‘buy now pay later as part of our financing options. Additionally, throughout the year, we run several ‘Back to School’, ‘Back to College’ along with festive season offers and campaigns to deepen our reach in the country. Thanks to our loyal customers and feedback mechanisms, we have retained ‘Most Trusted Brand’ title for three years in a row. We will continue to bring about exciting innovations for the Indian market through our products and solutions.”
Ms. Seema Bhatnagar of VAIO, “VAIO aims to bring up technology solutions and laptops suited best for the corporate world and the business environments. Our brand’s USP is to bring an incomparable yet seamless computing experience to the users with futuristic approach blended with technological advancements that illuminate the users’ spirit of innovation in each of their fields. Japanese craftsmanship brings thin and light laptops with wide ranges of colours and patterns.”
Mr. Sooraj Balakrishnan of Acer, “Acer’s wide gamut of product offerings include PCs, laptops, gaming devices, accessories, VR devices, true wireless earbuds, displays, projectors, servers, workstations, tablets, wearables and air purifiers. The company is also developing cloud solutions to bring together the IoT applications. Acer is focused on combining hardware, software and services that will open up new possibilities for consumers and businesses alike, from service-oriented technologies, IoT, gaming to Virtual Reality.”
Mr. Raghu Reddy of Mi India, ‘We aim to disrupt the market with the best-in-class specs, premium experience and minimalistic designs. With the launch of our first notebook series in the market, we focused on blending both power and beauty, and introduced feature-packed laptops, with best-in-class technology, exceptional build quality and amazing battery life. Our Mi Notebook 14 Horizon edition features one of the lightest chassis designs in the Thin and Light laptop category, and offers the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, a productivity powerhouse great for compute-intensive workloads and everyday activities including streaming, designing, editing, etc.”
The gaming laptops segment and its future
Now digital gaming has shifted from being a pastime play to professional activity. Today, gamers are ready to pay higher prices for the features they demand. Gaming segment being niche, also offers higher margins to device providers, so brands are coming up with laptops that have the advanced technology, latest features, and superior performance. Gaming laptops typically need high speed, superior performance and efficient cooling systems.
Mr. Raj Kumar Rishi of Dell Technologies, “India is a high growth market for the gaming industry, where there is a rising interest among consumers when it comes to adopting gaming, either for entertainment or for competing. Our Dell G series & Alienware range addresses the evolving needs of diverse gamer profiles. The new mobile gaming family of the Alienware X-Series exemplifies our values of bold innovation, high performance, iconic design, and premium quality. Our engineering and design teams have devised the next evolution of the Alienware Cryo-Tech cooling technology which introduces Element 31, an exclusive thermal interface material (TIM) concocted from Encapsulated Gallium-Silicone liquid metal compound. This tech improves the thermal resistance advantage up to 25%. For those rising through the ranks and want machines that are designed to optimize gaming experiences and provide versatility for everyday use, we have the Dell G Series. With a unique Game Shift button, gamers can launch game-ready settings for improved performance. The G series also comes with the Alienware Command Center which enables control over hardware and software, so the hardware performance and system settings can be easily customized as per gaming profiles within one easy-to-use interface.”
Mr. Sooraj Balakrishnan of Acer, “Acer has been the leader in PC gaming for a number of years bringing in path-breaking gaming laptops and accessories with the best technology for the entry level users and also for the pros, at competitive prices. With our solutions, users can also upgrade their laptops. Gaming market is growing at a rapid pace and trends clearly show that every year more PC gamers are coming into the market.”
Mr. Raghu Reddy of Mi India, “The gaming laptop segment is witnessing rising demand from youngsters. Expansion of digital platforms and the gaming being opted by many as a career option are crucial developments contributing to the growth of this segment. Innovations in laptop technology are further pushing the demand. We believe that the demand for high-level gaming performance intertwined with the demand for device portability will continue. As a company focused on addressing the demands of consumers, we have set a powerful trend with our first gaming series laptops in the market and as we continue to evolve and will introduce more powerful machines that meet the specific requirements of different user segments.”
Mr. Raj Kumar Rishi of Dell Technologies further adds, “Dell is synonymous with innovation and our plan for 2022 will be the latest chapter to our creative story. We have an exciting line of products slated for the year in line with our commitment to modernizing PCs and take immersive visuals, premium designs, powerful performance, and gaming experiences to the next level.”
To Sum Up
Earlier, PCs and laptops in offices and educational institutions used to be shared devices but with work from home and learn from home becoming trends, each user needs to have their own independent PCs or laptops. The requirement of laptops per household has shot up as households are adopting more laptops. After the outbreak of pandemic, the laptop segment has undergone a significant makeover. Even after the Covid subsides, the WFH and LFH are set to continue in a different level and the demand for laptops is expected to continue its growth trajectory for several years to come. Gaming is evolving from being a passion into a full time career driven by the regularly organized gaming tournaments spurring increasing demand for gaming laptops.