Several multinational information technology brands such as Lenovo, Acer and Hewlett-Packard will launch "affordable" sub-Rs 20,000 category tablets ahead of the festive season beginning this month. The Indian tablet market has been dominated by Chinese or local players, with companies such as Apple and Samsung operating in a niche segment at present. The festive season that starts from October, is considered to be the strongest period for electronic sales in the country. The Indian tablet market stood at 2.6 million units last year - almost one-fourth of the overall personal computer market in the country - and is expected to increase to six million units this year. However, these estimates by market research and consultancy firm IDC India also include 2.5 million units from the expected Uttar Pradesh state government tablet deal. Minus the UP deal, the tablet run rate remains to be one million units a quarter, said Manasi Yadav, senior market analyst with IDC India. "If there are more product launches especially from branded international players we could see bigger volumes as most tablets selling in India are in the range of Rs 20,000-10,000 right now." Consider this: Lenovo plans to have a range of six tablets by December, priced between Rs 9,000-26,000.
Four of them would be priced at Rs 20,000. "We have launched one tablet at Rs 9,000 a month ago and have also rolled out two other tablets in the Rs 15,000-17,000 range very recently," Shailendra Katyal, Lenovo India's director for consumer business said, adding affordable tablets were also being looked at as gifting options now. While Acer India intends to launch a 3G-based tablet for the "mid segment" before Diwali, HP India is readying a range of tablets across segments, with a sub Rs 20,000 Android-based tablet expected by the end of the year. S Rajendran, chief marketing officer of Acer India, said as this category was slated for growth, the buyer is becoming more "rational and mature" and was not just looking at the price point, after bad experiences with sub-standard products came to light. These companies refused to share more specifics to maintain a competitive advantage over rivals. Yadav added sales of Google Nexus in the country had seen a surge, as it was priced in the affordable range (Rs 13,000-16,000) and also comes from a trusted brand. "So, if big players are launching products which are priced decently, consumers would move to better tablets."