Today Acer is one of the world’s top ICT companies and has a presence in over 160 countries. As Acer looks into the future, it is focused on enabling a world where hardware, software and services will fuse with one another to open up new possibilities for consumers and businesses alike. In an exclusive interview with Manoj Jha, Editor, DeviceNext, Sudhir Goel, CBO, Acer India shares the present scenario of notebook industry and the major trends that may impact the industry in 2021. Excerpts of the interview
What is the current status of the notebook industry in India and where you placed the Acer brand in the race?
Burgeoning demand for technologically advanced products, owing to changing consumer behaviour and increasing needs across various industries such as education, IT, healthcare, etc. is going to be paramount in driving the growth of the notebook market over the next decade in India. Besides, improving internet infrastructure across the country will further fuel growth. According to the IDC report, the surge in PCs led by the covid-19 pandemic will continue well into 2021. Also, Post-COVID, growing acceptance of the work-from-home norm and the compulsion to connect via electronic means have emerged as a new catalyst for growth. Similarly, several educational institutions have embraced e-learning as a way to bridge the gap between tutors and students/pupils while complying with the lockdown measures being enforced in the country.
With offices shut and most professionals exclusively dependent on their personal devices for work from home, laptops consumers are now inclined to upgrading to high-performance devices and become more conscious about data security and privacy – resulting in better growth prospects for the category. The Covid-19 pandemic may have arrived as a major disruptor for businesses, but we have seen pent up demand for notebooks. This has mainly been driven by remote working and online learning requirements from work from home, learn from home and create from home.
What have been the major achievements of Acer in the last few quarters?
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Acer saw year-on-year revenue growth for the last couple of months. This was achieved by the swiftness of our actions to capture the rise in demands due to work-from-home and online learning needs. During the last few months, we remained watchful to the world economic situation and adjusted operating strategies to changing circumstances. At Acer, we are doing our best to fulfil the surge in demand for certain product lines, including notebooks, Chromebooks, monitors, and others. We have also expanded our product lines across categories and are also aiming at transforming into a lifestyle brand from just a product brand. We are striding forward by building cross-industry business collaborations and have always been at the forefront in providing improved experience to our patrons through tech-enabled lifestyle enhancement products. We have recently introduced a new sub-brand called the Acerpure under which we have just launched a 2-in-1 air purifier and circulator. This new product line from Acer signifies an extension of Acer’s smart air quality solution business and follows the brands’ corporate mission of promoting a safer living. For AI-based technology, Acer is bringing customized solutions across industries and are looking at continually innovating ourselves. Another example of our innovation is the introduction of our new range of products with antimicrobial solutions. These solutions extend to the surface of the chassis, the touchscreen, top cover, keyboard, and touchpad. With this type of implementation, your device can stay cleaner longer and will not require regular alcohol scrubbing or specialized covers.
Have you seen any changes during the COVID pandemic in consumer behavior?
The end of 2020 is finally upon us. It has been a year when the Covid-19 offered serious challenges in stabilizing the overall economy amid the lockdown, one of which was changing industry dynamics. It has certainly changed customer behaviour very significantly across industries. Brands who quickly understand the need for this change and grab their opportunities will be the ones excelling today and also in the coming future. Some traditional points of connection have vanished, and new ones have been created. Reinventing communication planning across this new customer path to purchase will be one of the biggest things that brands need to do to succeed in 2021. Now with the holiday season, we expect the purse strings to loosen and customers coming back into the shops more. We also see more conversions happening as more in-market audiences come to stores.
What are the few trends that you see that may impact your industry in 2021?
It might seem strange to be making predictions about 2021 when it’s far from certain how the remainder of 2020 is going to play out. No-one foresaw the world-changing events of this year, but one thing is clear: technology played the biggest role and has changed just as much as every other part of our lives. Here are possible trends we believe will dominate in the PC industry in 2021.
1. 5G Will Go Mainstream: All that conversation and excitement around 5G will become real in 2021. The need for a consistent and fast connection became urgent only a few months earlier. When digital collaboration, remote work, and video-conferencing became a part of our lives, we had to get ways to boost speed.
2. Wi-Fi 7: It has ambitious goals and must meet tight requirements to meet our increasing connectivity needs. While Wi-Fi 7 is still not here with some features being defined, the progress towards the new standard shows us the trajectory of Wi-Fi’s technological evolution – where Wi-Fi is heading, what we can expect from it, and what the pace of change will be.
3. Edge computing: In 2021, new business models will emerge that will expedite the deployment of Edge Computing through Cloud platforms, while AI and 5G will facilitate the expansion of Edge users.