Millennium Post

Killer tablets

Killer tablets
Nothing stays for long in this world. This happens rather quickly in the world of science. Even before a man realises, technological changes sweep the world around. Yesterday’s new becomes today’s old. Every technological advancement aims to bring ease for human beings, and as a rule of ‘nature’, yesterday’s favourites gradually die a silent death. Personal computers appear to have a same fate. Its charm and fetish among the ‘consumer’ is fading. Its business is sagging worldwide. Companies are logging out of this now ‘unprofitable occupation’, the recent companies being Japanese firm Sony and HCL Infosystem in India . And here in the picture, there is no one culprit, but two — tablets and smartphones.

‘We used to spend our time on desktop for playing games and for connecting with friends via social networking sites. But all of them are now present on our smartphones or tablets. So the amount of time spent on desktop is reduced ,’ says Puneet Thakral, a college student.

Research firm IDC data shows that 2013 was particularly terrible year for personal computers as unit shipments decline 10 per cent from the year 2012. In the last quarter of 2013, they stumbled
by 5.6 per cent.

IDC’s global figures reveal that Chinese giant Lenovo, having a market share of 18.6 per cent in the last quarter of last year, saw growth of nine per cent in the fourth quarter (2013) due to the greater acceptance of their products like chromebook in the emerging maket. Whereas HP shipments dived 8.5 per cent with shipment of 13,779 units.

But the situation is not too dismal in India with PC market growing at 4.8 per cent in 2013 to 11.5 million units. But what is to be seen here is that state governments’ educational projects were behind the driving growth of this segment and corporate demand. It’s not the consumer demand which is behind its growth numbers.

According to IDC, in India, the commercial PC segment hit a high of 6.7 million units in 2013, with a year-on-year growth of 15.8 per cent over 2012, whereas the overall consumer PC market recorded 4.8 million units, which is a drop of 7.4 per cent over 2012. The Akhilesh Yadav’s UP government educational deal helped HP to top the segment this time with 28.5 per cent market share in India. In consumer PC segment, it had a share of 19.5 per cent. Dell had a share of 13.2 per cent with a year-on-year growth of 5.7 per cent in volume and was at the second spot.

Lenovo saw strong placement in the enterprise and all-in -one desktop category. It had a market share of 12.2 per cent in 2013.

In the last quarter of 2013, PC shipment stood at 2.03 million, which was a year-on-year decline of 19 per cent over last quarter of 2012.

As someone rightly said, figures tell it all. Global statistics of tablet shipments paint a rosy picture for the business as the total figures grow 59.6 per cent in second quarter of 2013 with android-based Samsung tablets leaping ahead with 277 per cent growth with a market share of 18 per cent. Good news for Samsung converts to bad news for Apple’s iPad as American giant’s market share is cut to 32.4 per cent in Q2 against the scintillating figure of 60. 3 per cent in the corresponding period of 2012. Though market share of Lenovo tablets is abysmal, 1.5 per cent, but its growth story is remarkable with 313. 9 per cent increase in numbers.

In the third quarter of 2013, Samsung tablets growth stood about 23 per cent and its market share increased from 12.4 per cent to 20.4 per cent. Apple’s market share reduced from 40.2 per cent to 29.6 per cent in third quarter by registering a growth of only 0.6 per cent. Once again, the star performer here is Chinese giant Lenovo with 420.7 per cent growth. And in Q4 of 2013, 76.9 million units of tablets were shipped, registering a growth of 62.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Speaking on the figures, research firm Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said: ‘In emerging markets, the first connected device for consumers is most likely a smartphone, and their first computing device is a tablet. As a result, the adoption of PCs in emerging markets will be slower as consumers skip PCs for tablets.’

IDC India Market Analyst Manish Yadav says: ‘In India, commercial business has certainly boosted the Indian PC market in 2013,but historically it’s observed that consumer market had stimulated PC business, the consumer demand has worsened in the course of the year and sentiments remain largely subdued. Similarly apart from government driven education deals, the market witnessed dullness in enterprise segment also. The prime cause of this was sharp devaluation of rupee, weak economic growth, slowdown in new hiring mixed with layoff fears in large enterprises
throughout 2013.’

‘The biggest advantage of tablet is its large screen. They are even good for working people on the move. I discarded my laptop last year for tablet as it is lighter in weight and user-friendly. Earlier people thought it would be useful only for college students. But it is proving equally important for corporate guys too like us.  I send mails, click pictures, prepare my presentations make calls, watch movies and do can do many so many things with it. It has obviated the need for a person to be at one place.  It is well made for the generation on-the-move. Though years back laptop provided this ease but, tablets have piped them now, says Jeevan Jaykar, a software-developer with an IT firm in Bengaluru.

Nevertheless, efforts never stopped to revive the submerging appeal of personal computers. Microsoft earnest attempt to rekindle demand among consumer failed to take off with the launch of Windows 8 in second half of 2012. If statistics are to be believed —only they are honest, nothing else in this world—Windows 8 failed miserably.

On this IDC’s Manish says: ‘In terms of revival, there are few issues which if tackled well by (original equipment manufacturer)  OEMs, it can definitely bring back the share of wallet to the PC market. One of them would be product pricing. OEMs have to strike the sweet spot where consumers are really looking to buy laptops i.e. value for money. Secondly new technology should be brought in step by step, so that consumers get time to understand & should be able to imbibe them easily as and when it’s brought in.’  The spiraling business and the ever increasing embracement of tablets, phablets and smartphone  among the people show the process of ‘creative destruction’ where one technology arises from the destruction of previous technology.

On Indian scenario, Manish says: ‘In India like we said, PCs would find its space and will co-exist for specific abilities. An example in this case could be government and government aided buying (PSUs/educational institutions), which would continue to drive volumes for PC business. From a consumer perspective, the buying cycle for PC seems to have got extended due to the choice of end user devices (phablets, tablets) that have been introduced in a very short span of time. A shift in consumer choice is obvious. With these newer devices growing in functionality, the
threat is imminent’.
Meenakshi Thakur

Meenakshi Thakur

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