MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Given the extended work from home requirement and the push for online learning, demand for laptops has gone up amid the easing of lockdown curbs. E-commerce platforms have reported increased searches for new and refurbished devices while industry experts have reported a shift in preference for laptops over desktops.
Search for affordable devices with larger screens and accessories has surged, with most of it led by pent-up demand. Experts have warned that sales will slow down in the second half of the year.
IDC Research expects thin and light laptops to be in greater demand, larger enterprises to look for premium devices while small and medium enterprises to spend on affordable options.
E-commerce platforms, which were permitted delivery of non-essentials starting mid-May, have witnessed a jump in demand for work and gaming oriented laptops.
Flipkart witnessed a 2.3 times increase in laptop searches and higher demand for refurbished laptops on 2GuD, their reseller platform. Work oriented laptops equipped with graphic cards for the coders, designers and high performance laptops with strong processing power have been one of the top choices for consumers.
Amazon India spokespersons reported adoption of study essentials for home with a surge in search for products such as 1.7 times increase in headphones and earphones, doubling of search for laptops and tablets, nearly 1.2 times rise in searches for stationery, over 2 times increase for mouse and keyboards, 1.3 times for printer, over 3 times for routers and 2.5 times increase for study tables.
"Interestingly, demand for gaming laptops and core i3 laptops has witnessed a significant increase in states such as Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka, solving for their entertainment and everyday use purposes," said a Flipkart spokesperson.
Arnold Su, business head, Consumer & Gaming PC, System Business Group, ASUS, India, said initially the company had forecast a considerable impact on the overall laptop business in India by 30-40% in Q2 2020 compared with Q2 2019. However now they believe the drop may minimize to 10% - 20% since they have witnessed a "dramatic surge in demand for laptops mid-May onwards".
Vickram Bedi, senior director, Personal Systems, HP India Market, also said that the laptop manufacturer has witnessed a surge in demand across enterprise, SMB and home use with a trend towards "one device per person in the family" in a situation where everyone has to work at the same time.
This also signifies a shift in trend towards a preference for laptop over desktop which has boosted the market for refurbished laptops as reported by Mint from the early days of the lockdown.
"We have seen a 100% jump in demand for refurbished PCs and laptops from corporates with factors such as cost effectiveness, as you are paying about 1/10th of the cost of the (new) device, and scalability by procuring for a short period, driving this demand. Additionally, the educational system is also facing a shortage with 80% of schools unable to meet the technological requirements," said V Ranganathan, managing director, Cerebra Integrated Technologies which offers enterprise level device management and device refurbishment services.
While the overall PC market will not expand immediately, it will happen eventually happen as more companies including small business will go digital and will need mobile devices like laptops.
"The trend is definitely going to change from here. We will see enterprises shifting from desktops to laptops. There is a different purchase cycle over which enterprises procure devices. The pandemic is forcing organisations to go for immediate purchase. That is why we are seeing very strong surge in demand right now," said Jaipal Singh, associate research manager, Client Devices, International Data Corporation (IDC) India.
Singh added that the market will also see a shift in purchase cycle as sales expected in second half is happening now and thus will see the PC market slowdown in later part of the year.