BENGALURU/CHENNAI: PC makers are seeing a sudden surge in demand for desktops, laptops and tablets. While a lot of it is pent-up demand as the products couldn’t be sold during the lockdown, a good part is also orders from businesses on account of the extended work-from-home (WFH), and from families who now need devices for their children to attend online classes.
“Customers are beginning to realise how important PCs have become in their lives in the current circumstances,” Vickram Bedi, senior director (personal systems) at HP India, said. “It (personal devices) is now one per person as opposed to one per family,” he said.
Lenovo India chief executive officer Rahul Agarwal said the brand has seen a 50% spike since the market opened up after the lockdown, mainly triggered by the needs of remote learning as most schools have started online classes.
During the lockdown, many parents were forced to share their laptops with their children for online classes. Now, whoever can afford separate computer devices are beginning to do so.

Customers are preferring PCs with larger screens because of long exposures while working from home, and to give children a better experience during classes. Rajkumar Rishi, MD of consumer and small business at Dell India, said consumers are also preferring laptops over desktops. At homes, it is difficult to find space for multiple desktop computers.
Arnold Su, business head for consumer & gaming PCs at Asus India, said they have successfully recovered more than 100% of the sales lost in April and a part of May because of the lockdown. A lot of the purchasing has moved online given that people are wary of stepping out. “The online segment alone occupies 25-30%,” said Su.
Harish Kohli, MD of Acer India, said they introduced their e-store earlier this year and it was doing 10-12 orders per day before the lockdown, but it is now doing a daily average of 125. Kohli said most of their retail stores are also running out of stock because of the demand surge.
Dell said conversions have increased at stores. “Previously, only one in five people who walked into the store would buy. Now that ratio is much better. Only those who want to buy are coming,” Rishi said.
Bharath Shenoy, market analyst for PC devices at research firm IDC India, said as companies and employees try to adjust to remoteworking requirements, the immediate task is to make the workforce functional with minimal losses in productivity. “Hence, the demand for notebooks in the enterprise segment is expected to remain strong in the coming quarters,” he said.
Lenovo’s Agarwal, however, cautions that the actual impact on the market in the medium to long term is yet to be ascertained. As the GDP growth falls, PCs too could be impacted.

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