The increasing need for computing devices across segments due to the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled growth for Taiwan-headquartered Acer. Acer's consumer laptop business saw a close to 2X growth and the company witnessed a renewed spike in the demand for tablets due to education and content consumption needs.
Laptops have been one of the most important tools for remote work and study from home during the pandemic. And this new way of working remotely has increased organisations' need for customisable, modern IT solutions to be arranged at scale. "At Acer, we have seen an upsurge in demand for laptops both from the enterprise and consumer side. In the commercial desktop category, we used to have under 20% share. But in 2020, our market share has soared to 28.7 per cent. If we merge both commercial and consumer desktops, then it is 22.2 per cent. So, this is a stunning performance in our 20 years of existence in India," says Harish Kohli, President and MD, Acer India.
Acer entered the Indian market in 1999 and is a profitable company in the country. "If you look at the education vertical, we have been No 1 over so many years. The same for the BFSI segment, where we have been the leader for ten years. We joined PC gaming five years back, and have maintained the No 1 position in gaming laptops over the last 15 quarters," adds Kohli.
The Indian personal computing market benefitted from work-from-home and study-from-home. The consumer demand has hit an all-time high constrained only by supply challenges due to chip shortage and other COVID related restrictions. Even with this, the sales under the consumer segment have outstripped the last two years (2018 and 2019). According to IDC India, although the commercial segment had very few governments and education projects, the consumer segment recorded its largest quarter (Oct-Dec 2020) with shipments growing 27 per cent year on year to hit 2.9 million units. "The phenomenal growth in the consumer PC space helped to stabilise the deficit of government and other commercial projects which was put on hold due to the pandemic," adds Kohli.
In a work from home scenario, the security of data becomes very key as you are connected to home networks. Acer's business laptops come with advanced security features which helps to mitigate this to a large extend. Acer has also launched a monitor with an in-built webcam and speakers to make virtual meetings convenient. Other features the company is incorporating are related to digital health especially in the eye-care segment as people are working longer and spending more time in front of laptops. "We have also launched laptops with anti-microbial solutions to protect users from harmful microbes so that laptop is a safe device to work on," adds Kohli.
Surprisingly, it's not just been the laptops for work and study from home that has contributed to the company's business. Acer has witnessed demand from gamers too. "We continue to see gaming PCs and peripherals sales at all-time highs and Chrome-based devices are expanding beyond education into the consumer market," says Kohli.
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