PC shipments, including tablets, in India grew by 72% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 to reach 4 million units.
PC shipments (including tablets) in India grew by 72% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 to reach 4 million units, comprising 517,000 desktops, 2.5 million notebooks, 930,000 tablets and 43,000 workstations, according to new research from analyst firm Canalys. Almost all categories grew well, mainly due to a poor Q1 2020, when supply was hit due to pandemic restrictions in China. Notebooks (including mobile workstations) were the major growth driver, as shipments grew 119% over Q1 2020. Tablets also had one of their biggest quarters since 2016, with 52% year-on-year growth. Desktop shipments fell 6% to 517,000 units due to a fall in popularity for the form factor.
“Measuring true demand in India is extremely difficult,” said Canalys Research Analyst Ashweej Aithal. “The second COVID wave has been ruthless, claiming many more lives and livelihoods than the first wave, forcing India to pause almost all economic activity. For PCs, the entire channel has been paralyzed, and despite healthy demand from consumers and businesses alike, fulfilling orders was the primary issue once again. Channel partners that have not been able to pivot to online sales have seen a huge portion of their business slip during the pandemic. In addition, OEMs prioritizing fast-moving markets, such as the US and Western Europe, and diverting the bulk of their inventory to these markets, has further aggravated the situation. For most of this year and next, India will suffer from supply issues.”
The surging demand for PCs led to the entry of new vendors such as Nokia and Vaio, which launched new notebook models and plan to use their strong brand recognition to tempt customers. The market also saw an exceptional rise in the gaming PC sub-category. Shipments of “gaming-capable” machines grew almost 65% year on year as the pandemic gave rise to a need for new forms of entertainment, given movie theaters, theme parks, pubs and restaurants were closed for much of the year.
“India may soon become a major manufacturing hub for PCs, as the Indian government is planning to extend its Production-Linked Incentive scheme for smartphone manufacturing to the PC industry. The scheme is designed to target overseas players that invest INR 500 crores ($69 million) over a period of four years in Indian manufacturing facilities for laptops, tablets and servers to boost domestic exports and employment,” said Aithal. “Manufacturers are expected to get incentives for laptops manufactured and priced above INR30,000 ($400) and tablets priced above INR15,000 ($200). Canalys expects most ODMs and OEMs to take advantage of this route, as the long-term outlook for India is still strong. While the commercial sector remains a key focus, PCs in education and for consumers are future hotspots.”