Acer tablets fails to woo customer in India
Tablet computers may be selling in big numbers elsewhere in the world, but definitely not in India, said personal computer maker Acer Inc, which is among the leading PC and laptop sellers here.
Acer is able to sell only about 2,000 to 2,500 of the so-called “post-PC” devices every a quarter and the money it makes from such sales is a trickle. The $20-billion Taiwanese PC-maker had a market share of less than 1% of India’s tablet market, data from market researcher IDC show.
As Acer struggles to find its feet in the Indian tablet melee, there is no dearth of new brands jumping into the fray. In the last few days, HCL Infosystems and Micromax launched their low-cost tablets priced at between Rs 6,500 and Rs 8,000, raising questions about Acer’s ability to meet ever falling price points.
Acer’s Iconia brand, launched a year ago, based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system found some interest among enterprise users but that did not translate to interest among individual consumers.
“Apple doesn’t have very large numbers in India,” Acer India’s chief marketing officer S Rajendran said, referring to the iPad, which had a 40% market share in India as per IDC. Worldwide, Acer reportedly sold 3 million tablets in 2011, much lower than the earlier anticipated 5-7 million.
Over the past year, India has witnessed a flood of new tablets, with several global and domestic vendors launching devices at price points that have been falling rapidly. Acer’s inability to create a differentiated appeal or match the low price points being set by smaller brands may be partly to blame for the PC-maker’s quandary.
Acer blames the frenzy created by government’s low-cost tablet Aakash, which encouraged small vendors to get into to the low-cost tablet segment. The problem, in Acer’s view, is that it confused consumers by setting high expectations about price.
“Aakash doesn’t come with all the required functionalities,” Rajendran said. “We still think a fully capable tablet cannot be in that price league.”
Aakash sells for about $35.
Technology market researcher Gartner expects higher adoption of tablets in India in 2012 compared to the previous year. However, it won’t have a major impact on the PC shipments, which Gartner expects to reach 12.5 million units in 2012.
IDC, another market researcher, however expect tablet sales to more than double in India, from 250,000 units in 2011 to 575,000 in 2012. Nearly 20% of that is expected to be low-cost devices.
“Most low-cost tablet vendors are in a wait and watch mode. Going ahead, we expect smaller players to increase their market share, with Apple dominating the market,” said Gopi Rajeev, senior market analyst at IDC.
Micromax sees immense potential in the education and entertainment technology space and claimed its tablet is positioned as the ultimate smart-learning device.