Despite the nationwide lockdown and just 45 operational days in April-June quarter this year, as many as 2.9 million PCs were shipped in the channel. These include desktops, notebooks, tablets and workstations, according to research firm Canalys. However, the shipment of PCs declined by 33 per cent year-on-year in the said quarter.
"The top-line numbers don't tell the whole story. This was actually a strong quarter for PCs. Given that the quarter had just 45 operational days, that is an incredible feat," says Canalys Research Analyst Varun Kannan.
As notebooks are preferred over desktops, this category including workstations underperformed the most as the shipments halved at 4,40,000 units as compared to 8,84,000 units in Q2 2019. The shipments of notebooks (including mobile workstations) amounted to 18,00,000 million units in just 45 days, versus 26,00,000 million units in 90 days during the said quarter last year. This category shrunk by 32 per cent year-on-year, given an unusually strong Q2 in 2019 Discounting Lenovo's ELCOT deal in Q2 2019 with the Tamil Nadu government, notebooks have actually grown 15 per cent compared with the same period last year. 7,40,000 tablets were shipped in the same period as compared to 8,11,000 in 2019 Q2. Even though tablets shipment also went down by 9 per cent amounting, it still performed better than the other categories.
"With most of India under lockdown, IT companies such as TCS, HCL, Infosys and Wipro have all announced arrangements for employees to work from home for the foreseeable future. The COVID-19 pandemic forced most IT companies in India to forego their strict office-based working policies in favour of adopting new hybrid working arrangements to ensure business continuity during the lockdown. This led to panic-buying of PCs and accessories, cleaning out inventories almost everywhere in the country. The days of writing off inventory with markdowns and discounts have vanished," avers Kannan.
Lenovo was the market leader with 818,000 PCs. Also a prominent player in the tablet segment, it helped the company have an edge over the competition, accounting for 29 per cent of its total shipments this quarter. HP with 629,000 units shipment was at the second spot. It, however, led the individual categories of desktops and notebooks with shipments of 572,000 and 119,000 units, respectively. At the third spot, Dell witnessed a year-on-year dip of 20 per cent. On the back of the tablet numbers, Samsung registered fourth place with 173,000 units. With 168,000 units, Acer's shipments decreased by 46 per cent. Of the top five vendors, Samsung has been the only company, on the back of commendable tablet numbers, and was the only vendor in the top five to grow its shipments.
However, in comparison to the April-June quarter last year, Lenovo's market share fell from 44.2 per cent to 27.4 per cent, HP's market share increased from 17.3 per cent to 23.2 per cent, Dell also gained some market share from 10.0 per cent to 12.7 per cent and Acer's market share came down to 5.6 per cent from 7.1 per cent. Samsung more than doubled its market share to 5.8 per cent from 2.4 per cent last year.
"A slow return to normal will prompt many companies to reduce spending or even downsize, which will have a rollover effect on IT expenditure. But online learning will remain a bright spot in the coming quarters, driven by government and private technology companies' initiatives, and PC hardware vendors should follow up quickly to capture the opportunities arising in this segment," adds Kannan.
The PC industry has been on a decline for the last few years. This recent boost in PC sales may not be enough to change the industry dynamics, say industry experts.