Local vendors gaining acceptability in the India Tablets market

Picture of Faisal Kawoosa, Head - New Initiatives

Faisal Kawoosa, Head - New Initiatives

As per the latest CMR report release on the India Tablets market, 0.55 million tablet units were shipped during 2Q 2012 (April-June 2012 quarter). Micromax led the market with an 18.4% share in terms of unit shipments.

An interesting trend that has emerged apart from a phenomenal volume growth for the quarter is that domestic brands are gaining acceptability amongst customers.  Of the Top Five Tablet vendors, three are local (Indian) vendors – Micromax, Karbonn and HCL.  Cumulatively, these three brands contributed 60% of the shipments amongst the Top Five brands and 39% of the total unit shipments during the quarter.

This is a very commendable feat for local brands, to be able to stand in the same league as the global giants Apple and Samsung, the other two players in the Top Five. Although, industry experts know that local content / IP contribution, in terms of components that make up a Tablet, is marginal or sometimes completely absent, the success lies in the fact that these (local) brands have been able to come up with a proposition that has been perceived very close to expectations by potential users, resulting in a large volume of sales to end users (consumers).

Certainly, the India ESDM sector will receive a much desired boost from the shipments of these devices, particularly when a considerable value add starts to happen within the country. However, the local brands have set the ball rolling and sketched a path in the right direction.

The Indian Tablet vendors have established themselves as product companies in a high potential, hyper competitive market and their aim should now be to increase local content in terms of components. Although, currently Indian Tablet vendors have no choice but to import components and sub-assemblies, but this market movement is what will ultimately drive investments into building a local ecosystem. These companies have exhibited to the stakeholders including government, the components industry, manpower producers et al that the Tablet as a product has a very bright future in India. And, with the potential demand likely to be large for a country the size of India, it makes a strong case for these stakeholders to seriously invest resources in building the local ESDM ecosystem. The foresight and bold thinking of the local Tablet vendors to establish a presence in the Tablets product category has not only benefited them, but also the country at large. It places India amongst the elite club of nations that produce and use a high-end, content consumption and telecommunications electronic gadget in large numbers.

At the same time we should express our indebtedness to the China-based ecosystem partners who helped the Indian companies deliver products at optimal price points for the India market and made us ponder…“Can we do it too?” The answer is a definite YES.

The data for the 2Q 2012 India Tablets market exhibits the growing strength of domestic brands and the behaviour of the average Indian user who does not accept products as they come in…he / she wants tailor-made solutions that suit his / her requirement, taste and of course, spending capacity. Even while the world labels us as ‘price conscious’ and ‘price sensitive’ buyers, we have started telling the world where and how much do we want to spend, without being too flexible on quality. This changing behaviour is an important insight for our fledgling product companies to pick up and eventually help India build her own domestic ESDM ecosystem. While our approach may sometimes be ‘top-down’ instead of ‘bottoms-up’, the ultimate result will be the same, a strong, newly emergent India ESDM sector. These developments signal exciting times ahead and I feel an urge to exclaim…Mera Bharat Mahaan!