Thanks to Jayalalitha, Indian PC sales to grow 17% this year: Gartner

India PC shipments will rise 17 percent this year, after a 6.5% fall in numbers in the last quarter of 2011, Gartner said.

The prediction is despite a recent increase in excise duty on computers and the overall slowing down of economic growth in India.

The news is likely to be welcomed by the PC industry, which has been facing trouble keeping sales numbers up in the midst of both an economic slowdown and a supply crunch due to floods in Thailand.

In all, Indians will buy 12.5 million PCs this year, or about 1 for every 100 Indians. In comparison, the Chinese are expected to buy about 80 million PCs this year (not a Gartner prediction.)

Excluding the impact of a laptop scheme in Tamil Nadu, PC sales in India will grow about 8.4% this year, Gartner clarified.

“The PC industry is benefiting from the Tamilnadu state government deal, wherein the government aims to give away laptops to the students of state-aided colleges and high schools – to fulfill the pre-election pledge made by the chief minister. This will add approximately 920,000 units to total shipments in 2012,” it pointed out.

The Indian PC market is led by Dell, which had a 15.5% market share in the last quarter of 2011, followed by Lenovo and HP. About 41% of the total market consists of ‘others’, which includes the ‘unorganized’ sector or assembled PCs as well.

However, as more and more consumers shift to notebooks, the share of branded computers is increasing.

Gartner said the new form factor Ultrabook, which weighs only half of what a conventional notebook would, has its advantage in terms of looks, style, light weight and battery life, but may be too costly for India.

At the current price point (around Rs 50,000) it is not going to be a persuasive device for consumers in the Indian market, which are primarily driven by price points, the research agency added.

“High inflation, increased cost of living and smartphone penetration are forcing consumers to extend the life of their computing devices,” said Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Consumers are not very enthusiastic about investing in new and advanced features and form factors which comes at a premium price.”

Media tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy tab, might see higher adoption as compared to 2011, but they are not going to have any major impact on the PCs as they are still the second or third devices for consumers, Gartner added.

However, it pointed out that some sectors, such as the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and banking, financial services and insurance, are opting for tablets for front-end sales force atomization.

“Commercial spending in the large enterprises may remain stable for some time, but with uncertainty in the global economy it might soften in the months to come. Consumers were waiting for the annual budget with the hope of some cuts in PC prices, but with the increase in excise duty, the cost of PCs will go up. This will result in some slack in consumer demand in the months to come,” Tripathi added.