Sleek communication devices such as tablets have finally started to canabalise the personal computers sale in India. If data are to be believed, then more Indians preferred tablets for their computing needs in FY 2012 than netbooks, a smaller form of a laptop or notebook.
According to the annual PC sales data by hardware industry body Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), only 0.28 million units of netbooks were sold in 2011-2012. However, as per industry estimates, about 0.35 million tablets were sold in India during the same period.
“Trends are too early to predict whether the tablets are going to canabalise the PC segment, but in 2011-12, sales of tablet PCs had started cannibalising the netbook sales. Consumers preferred alternative devices over netbooks and this was reflected in the 11% drop from the previous year in the number of netbooks sold,” MAIT president Alok Bhardwaj said.
However, it is too early to state whether it is going to overtake the laptop category. While tablet is emerging as a household product, laptops are still considered as business-oriented devices. The laptop or notebook category is growing at 26% year-on-year, he added.
“The sales of tablets were primarily driven by the availability of low-cost devices at the sub-Rs 10,000 mark. People are mostly using it as a web browsing device,” Jayanth Kolla, co-founder and analyst with Convergence Catalyst said.
According to the observations of Convergence Catalyst, the average monthly sale of tablets in first two quarters of calendar year 2012 has almost trebled.
Besides, the tablet vendors have created a niche for them by offering the devices at low-price point. The vendors target various segments in the market including education and entertainment. They also make the devices more lucrative by bundling content with those. This has helped them to win over the netbook category, said Sabyasachi Patra, Executive Director of MAIT.
For example, Micromax has been targeting the education segment with their FunBook while the Reliance tabs is targeting the youth segment.
MAIT is undertaking a study on the tablet PC market to understand the demand and impact of the device on the Indian market, Patra added.
According to the industry performance report released by MAIT on Tuesday, the sales of personal computers (PCs) grew 16% in 2011-12 over the previous year. In the total PCs sales, desktops accounted for 6.7 million units (a growth of 11% over the previous year). The sales of notebooks stood at 3.7 million units (up 26%).