WFH Effect: Dying category of tablets gets revived as demand increases

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September 19, 2021 5:45 AM

India’s PC shipments shoot to 5-year high of 4.1m units

“Shipments of notebooks, the largest category by volume, grew 43% over Q2 2020. Tablets also had one of their best quarters since 2016, with 52% year-on-year shipment growth. Desktop shipments were up by 23%,” the market research firm added.“Shipments of notebooks, the largest category by volume, grew 43% over Q2 2020. Tablets also had one of their best quarters since 2016, with 52% year-on-year shipment growth. Desktop shipments were up by 23%,” the market research firm added.

In a first since 2016, India’s PC shipments topped 4.1 million units in April-June 2021, signalling the market’s return to pre-Covid levels as work from home (WFH), remote learning and the ongoing digital transformation across industries boosted demand, market research firm Canalys said.

The pandemic not just heightened the demand for notebooks and desktops, but also resurrected the dying category of tablets, which reported their best quarter (Q2 2021) in the last five years.

PC shipments in India grew 43% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2021 to reach 4.1 million units, comprising half a million desktops, 2.5 million notebooks and 1 million tablets. Almost all categories grew by double-digit percentages YoY, mainly due to a lacklustre performance in Q2 2020, when the entire country was under lockdown, braving the first wave of Covid.

“Shipments of notebooks, the largest category by volume, grew 43% over Q2 2020. Tablets also had one of their best quarters since 2016, with 52% year-on-year shipment growth. Desktop shipments were up by 23%,” the market research firm added.

Canalys research analyst Ashweej Aithal said the market has finally returned to pre-Covid shipment levels. “While desktops and notebooks haven’t really seen a major bump in shipments, tablets are in much higher demand than before, resurrecting what was a dying category in India. Due credit for that should be given to remote learning, as well as the accelerated digital transformation of multiple industries and processes.”

For the second half of the year, he said Canalys is positive about the Indian PC market, as major government and educational tenders, which were put on hold due to the Covid Delta variant wave, are now re-tendered.

However, compared to Western markets, long-term demand in India remains low. While Covid has helped move the needle slightly when it comes to PC penetration, it has been unable to generate a lot of demand, as vast portions of the population still regard PCs as a luxury, not a must-have. Added to that, India also has some of the poorest broadband penetration rates in the world. While the long-term outlook for PCs in India is still positive, it is not going to outshine the US or Western Europe, Aithal said.

In terms of brands, HP maintained its leadership position with shipments up 54% YoY in Q2 2021. It has managed to consolidate its market share by doubling down on consumer products. Lenovo finished second with flattish 3% Y-o-Y growth in Q2 2021. This slower-than-average growth was partly because of its strong performance in Q2 2020, when it managed its supply chain better than its competitors and ensured healthy market sell-in.

Dell came in third with a 12.8% market share, growing 40% annually. Dell was followed by Samsung and Acer, with market shares of 9.8% and 8%, respectively.

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