Acer beats HP to become No. 1 PC maker in India
BANGALORE: Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc has emerged as the number one desktop seller in India during 2011, after seeing some ups and downs during the year that was marked by component shortage and aggressive price wars among multinational vendors.
With a 13.2% market share in the last quarter of 2011, as per data from market researcher IDC, Acer wrested the top spot from Hewlett-Packard, the US hardware giant that is still reeling under the impact of repeated top-level management changes, that is affecting its performance not just in India but elsewhere as well.
In the desktop space, Indian firm HCL Infosystems had the second spot after Acer, with a market share of around 8%. During 2011, Acer topped sales in the desktop category for nine months but slipped to the number two slot during the July-September quarter, only to bounce back during the last three months of the year. However, in the overall PC market in India that includes laptops and other mobile computing devices such as tablets, Dell is the leading vendor, with Acer at the number four slot.
Large orders from the government was one of the factors that helped Acer increase its sales volumes in the country, according to its chief marketing officer S Rajendran. HP's recent announcements about plans to hive off its PC business as well as its decision to replace its chief executive Leo Apotheker with former eBay chief Meg Whitman made customers wary, giving competitors such as Acer an opportunity to use the moment of weakness to gain market share.
Another significant factor that helped Acer is the inability of unbranded or assembled PC sellers to cope with the price fluctuations during the year. Following floods in Thailand, one of the global harddisk manufacturing hubs, the price of the storage device soared literally pushing it out of reach for most informal players.
With a PC-penetration of only about 8%, India is still considered a virgin market with a lot of headroom to grow even as desktop market has been shrinking in most developed markets such as North America and Europe, where consumers are migrating to mobile computing devices such as laptop, netbook or even tablet devices.
Last week, while launching the latest iteration of Apple's tablet computer iPad, the firm's chief executive Tim Cook claimed that Apple sold more number of iPads than desktops sold by any PC maker, signaling a clear change in preference among consumers.
India, however, analysts say is still fairly early in the stage of computer adoption and hence presents a huge opportunity for multi-national computer makers such as Dell, HP, Lenovo and Acer.
Home-grown hardware firms such as HCL Infosystems and Wipro have also been competing with the transnational firms for a share of the pie. In the latter half of the year, PC sales in India had been impacted by component shortage and price fluctuations.
According to data available from Gartner, overall PC market in India recorded its lowest shipments in the last six quarters during the last three months of 2011, primarily due to supply shortage and ensuing fluctuations in hard disk price. During the October to December period, 2.39 million 3D printers units was sold in India.
-Times Of India