Tab'bing the In­dian mar­ket

The emer­gence of var­i­ous low-cost in­dige­nous names has made tablets ac­ces­si­ble to the price con­scious In­dian con­sumer

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The tablet frenzy has gripped the In­dian con­sumers at large since the time it was launched in the coun­try. Cur­rently, this boom­ing mar­ket is wit­ness­ing ex­po­nen­tial growth. In fact, In­dia is one of the fastest grow­ing mar­kets across the globe wherein it is wit­ness­ing a sud­den spur in the de­mand and the emer­gence of var­i­ous tablet play­ers.

While the mar­ket is dom­i­nated by in­ter­na­tional brands, the emer­gence of var­i­ous low cost in­dige­nous names has made tablets ac­ces­si­ble to the price con­scious In­dian con­sumer. Ac­cord­ing to some of the in­dus­try es­ti­mates, the In­dian tablet mar­ket grew 770% to around Rs 2,000 crore in 2011-12 from Rs 230 crore in 2010-11.

A re­cent re­port ti­tled ‘ In­dia Tablet PC’s Mar­ket Fore­cast & Op­por­tu­ni­ties, 2016’, fur­ther en­tails to the fact that the out­look for the tablet PC mar­ket in In­dia seems very promis­ing as the over­all con­sumer spend­ing and ac­cep­tance is in­creas­ing in the coun­try. Adding to it, a fig­ure by ABI re­search firm in­di­cates that the In­dian me­dia tablet mar­ket is es­ti­mated to grow with a CAGR of 71% in 2017 which re­it­er­ates the con­tin­u­ous growth of this in­dus­try.

The tablets mar­ket over the last one year is go­ing through a con­stant phase of evo­lu­tion and sev­eral brands have en­tered this seg­ment to show­case their ca­pa­bil­i­ties to the end users. How­ever, the ma­jor­ity part of this bur­geon­ing mar­ket is be­ing cur­rently ruled by the likes of Sam­sung, Ap­ple, HCL, and Black­Berry.

Ac­cord­ing to a Cy­ber Me­dia Re­search 2012 re­port, the coun­try saw to­tal ship­ments of about 762,666 units of tablets in the FY12. The In­dian mar­ket for tablets, in terms of unit ship­ments, is be­ing led by Sam­sung with 47.4% share (in­clud­ing Galaxy Note ship­ments), fol­lowed by Ap­ple with 16.6%, HCL In­fos­ys­tems with 6.0%, RIM with 5.1%, and ZTE with 3.3%. In to­tal­ity, the top 5 ven­dors have a mar­ket share of ap­prox­i­mately 78%.

Though the mar­ket is cur­rently dom­i­nated by a hand­ful of play­ers, the com­pe­ti­tion is in­ten­si­fy­ing with many In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers for­ay­ing into this space and launch­ing their tablets at a very com­pet­i­tive price range. Ap­par­ently, these In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers have al­ready started show­ing the signs of gain­ing more mar­ket share in In­dian tablets mar­ket than the multi­na­tional brands.

“Con­trary to the gen­eral view that new cat­e­gories of per­sonal tech­nol­ogy com­put­ing de­vices might can­ni­balise older ones, the trend amongst con­sumers is mul­ti­ple own­er­ship. Con­sumers will continue to buy lap­tops, smart­phones and tablets. In In­dia, in­dus­try ex­pects to sell around 45 lakhs lap­tops and 3 lakhs tablets in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year. While lap­top cat­e­gory will wit­ness around 15% growth, tablets will grow at 100% be­ing a new cat­e­gory,” opined Alok Bharad­waj, pres­i­dent, MAIT. Trac­tion in the coun­try

The In­dian mar­ket has be­come very com­pet­i­tive in the five quar­ters since Q4 2010, when the first tablet model was in­tro­duced in the coun­try by Sam­sung. Since then, the mar­ket has wit­nessed huge growth in terms of de­mand, ship­ments, and emer­gence of var­i­ous play­ers.

To­day, ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor is be­ing seen as the pri­mary seg­ment driv­ing the In­dian tablet mar­ket, as a large num­ber of mod­els are po­si­tioned at this seg­ment. But at the same time, this de­mand is not only lim­ited to students, it is also be­ing cre­ated by par­ents, in­sti­tu­tions, and the gov­ern­ment across the coun­try.

While large scale in­sti­tu­tional pur­chases have not hap­pened this year, the re­tail ed­u­ca­tion mar­ket for such de­vices with pre-loaded ed­u­ca­tional con­tent is large and grow­ing rapidly. The cor­po­rate sec­tor with di­rect mar­ket­ing sales force is also find­ing the tablet a very use­ful and cost ef­fec­tive ac­ces­sory in lieu of the lap­tops.

“Ed­u­ca­tion has be­come one of the ‘hot’ ver­ti­cals with re­spect to adoption of tablets. The fo­cus of the Min­istry of HRD, gov­ern­ment of In­dia, to strengthen the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor in the coun­try by us­ing tech­nol­ogy in the de­liv­ery of ed­u­ca­tional con­tent has cre­ated a stir and gar­nered the at­ten­tion of pri­vate ven­dors and so­lu­tion providers. The launch of Akash fol­lowed by launches by ven­dors such as Mi­cro­max, Zync and HCL who have in­tro­duced tablets at price points start­ing as low as Rs. 6,500 will strengthen the adoption of tablets,” added Tarun Pathak, an­a­lyst, CMR Tele­coms Prac­tice.

Though we are still in the early stages of adoption of tablets as com­pared to the other de­vel­oped coun­tries, the end con­sumers are in­creas­ingly get­ting in­clined to­wards us­ing tablets over other mo­bile de­vices. There are a lot of fac­tors such as, price, guar­an­tee, dura­bil­ity, avail­abil­ity of ap­pli­ca­tions, tar­iff plans which have en­hanced the de­mand for tablets among In­dian con­sumers. Where the fu­ture lies...

The fu­ture seems to be very ex­cit­ing for the In­dian tablets mar­ket. The in­dus­try es­ti­mates that in the next 24 months, the tablet mar­ket would ex­ceed the size of the com­puter mar­ket in In­dia. In fact, it will rule the fu­ture of per­sonal com­put­ing land­scape, which means that there is a lot of po­ten­tial for new en­trants in this space.

In the near fu­ture, util­ity value, in­built handy apps, on-the-go seam­less con­nec­tiv­ity will be some the key fac­tors that will drive the tablet space. On the en­ter­prise front, sec­tors such as BFSI, ed­u­ca­tion, in­sur­ance, health­care and en­ter­tain­ment will also play ma­jor role in driv­ing the cat­e­gory. With the in­crease in num­ber of other play­ers the com­pe­ti­tion in the tablet space has been on the rise, re­sult­ing in in­no­va­tive prod­ucts. Fac­tors such as BYOD (Bring Your Own De­vice) and up­graded mul­ti­me­dia fea­tures will fur­ther in­crease the ac­cep­tance of tablets in the cor­po­rate sec­tor.

“In the past few months, a num­ber of new ven­dors have en­tered the In­dia tablets mar­ket with en­try-level of­fer­ings. Most of these ven­dors have been mo­bile hand­set ven­dors or IT prod­uct dis­trib­u­tors. Their in­sights and un­der­stand­ing about the needs of the In­dian con­sumer for a ‘pocket-friendly’ tablet and their strengths in dis­tri­bu­tion are fac­tors that could help these play­ers garner a piece of the ‘value-for-money’ tablets mar­ket go­ing for­ward,” con­cludes Pathak.

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