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Growing add-ons

An incisive analysis of the booming peripherals market in the country.

By Aparna Ramalingam

It's boom time, isn't it? There's the consumer boom, the software boom, the infotech boom. Add another one to this list. Those nondescript, innocuous peripherals are riding the boom too.

These positive projections were made by IDC in its recent Directions-2001, seminar. The peripherals market is experiencing robust growth. Obviously, the main contributing factor is the PC boom, which has pulled up demand for peripherals. Says Kaushik Bellani, 33, Market Development Manager, HP: ''Annual growth for PCs is projected at 50 per cent for the next four years. If this is a boom, then I reckon we have a boom in the consumer PC market in India.''

The total projections of infotech spending (2003-2004) on computing products--which includes PC servers and workstations-is a massive Rs 20,000 crore. Says Bellani: "Fifty per cent of the accelerated demand is due to the perception of falling prices. In reality, the consumer is getting better products/power/benefits at the same price point. Indeed, the dollar-rupee rate--which has gone through the roof in the last 24 months--is no longer a purchase factor. The boom has all to do with the Net.

In IDC's Millennium Home Survey 2000, 17 per cent of the target households had a PC with a Net connection at home. In 2000, nearly 79 per cent intend to have a PC with an Net connection at home. Says Aditya Pant, 29, Head (Research Operations), IDC: "The fastest growth will happen in the home sector. The arrival of the Soho (the small office home office) has also to some extent accentuated the demand."

PRINTERS: Let's start with the Indian printer market, which has seen robust growth. In 1999-00, the market grew by 27 per cent (value terms). The evident trend: the shift to inkjets. In 1999-2000, inkjets accounted for 46.4 per cent of the market, dot matrix accounted for 45.4 per cent, and laser accounted for about 7.7 per cent of the market (all in unit terms). Hewlett Packard (HP) was the market leader with a 65 per cent marketshare. Epson and Canon lagged far behind with marketshares of 18 and 7 per cent respectively.

Says Mohan Krishnan, 31, Research Director, IMRB's eTechnology Group: ''The main factor contributing to the growth of the inkjet printers is the high stand-alone sales, and the emergence of Sohos and home market.'' The dot matrix market is surviving though, so don't write it off. Adds Krishnan: "There are new avenues for growth in the emerging areas like retail and first time buyers traditional segments in smaller towns. Cost is also a key issue. The operating costs of a dot-matrix printer is much less when compared to an inkjet. The government, banking, and small scale companies are major buyers of dot matrix printers."

In this segment, TVSE was the leader with a 40 per cent share, followed by Wipro, which had a 32 per cent (all in unit terms) share of the market. Laser printers with speed of up to 12 pages per minute account for about 90 per cent of the market. HP was the leader of the pack here yet again, with a marketshare of 86 per cent in terms of units. Xerox was a poor second with only 5 per cent market share.

MONITORS: Out of the total peripherals market, monitors, printers and the hard disc drives dominate. In 1998-99, monitors accounted for about 28.5 per cent of the total peripheral market, printers followed with a 27.4 per cent market share, and HDDs followed closely behind with a 27.3 per cent market share. In 1999-00, the story is similar, with monitors occupying a share of 30.1 per cent, followed by printers 27.5 per cent, and HDDs 23.3 per cent.

The market is shifting from 14'' to 15'' colour monitors. Says Ajay Kaplia, 37, Veep (Sales and Marketing), LG Electronics: "Over the last six months, we have seen that 15'' colour monitors contribute to 45 per cent of our sales. Earlier it was only 25 per cent". Then there is a high replacement market for the colour monitors. Agrees Kapila: "There is a replacement market for the colour monitors, but it is not as high as the replacement market for hardware like CPUs."

According to the IDC study, high growth is observed in demand for the 17'' and 20'' size monitors. Adds Kapila: " These monitors are growing because of the presence of high-end applications." Samsung leads with a marketshare of 30 per cent, followed by Samtel, Microtek, and LG.

In the hard disk drive market, 8GB hard disks drive are the default today, but there is a shift towards 10 GB and above. Seagate dominated the market (in 1999-00) with a 63 per cent share. Samsung was a distant second with a 11 per cent market share.

SCANNERS: But the favourites from the peripherals markets seem to be the scanners. That segment of the peripheral market is zooming way ahead. Scanner demand has doubled in a span of one year. Explains Krishnan: "The growth in the scanner segment has been mainly because of the growth of Net and Web designing and development." Price is an issue. Scanners costing less than Rs 10,000 accounted for about 85 per cent of the total shipments. Umax had the maximum vendor share in this category (44 per cent), followed by HP, which had a 40 per cent market share.

So, in summation, what does the peripheral market offer in the New Millennium? Well, there's better technology and enhanced quality. The printing field may see some more specialisation, with efficient printing solutions, emergence of Net printers, photo printers, and mobile printers.

Like other areas, convergence is the buzz word too in the peripherals market. There will be an overlap between the hard copy functions like printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. A new printing model will then emerge on the scene. It will be the multi-functional devices that will probably rule the roost, though they are not picking up right now due to prevailing high prices.

A far cry from the death of the PC-centric era, isn't it?



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