When PC-sellers are going rural, Hewlett Packard (HP) is targeting the premium segment in India. The “different approach” is necessary because the segment makes up 60% of HP’s consumer base, says Ranjivjit Singh, chief marketing officer of the company’s printing and personal systems business. In an interview with Beryl Menezes, Singh elaborates on HP’s different approach, besides taking stock of the computer market in India. Excerpts:
HP has added three new devices to its Windows 8 portfolio. How are they different from the rest of your range?
While we launched 15-20 Windows 8 devices starting around Rs29,000 around the week of October 26, the global launch day of Windows 8 operating system, the three new products target the premium consumer in the top eight cities in India. Thus, the HP Envy x2 hybrid PC can convert into a tablet, which has extra-sensitive touch, high-definition 8-MP front and back cameras and 14-hour battery life and Beats audio, and is priced Rs59,990. Similarly, the HP Envy 23 TouchSmart is a 23-inch all-in-one (AIO) PC, which has ten-finger, multi-touch technology, priced Rs71,990. The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4, priced Rs59,990, has a 14-inch multi-touch HD (high-definition) display, and comes with a booming sub-woofer with Beats audio, and optional AMD graphics, allowing you to become your own DJ.
Ultrabooks, AIOs and hybrid PCs have been launched by other players too, with similar features, at similar price points. How will you have a competitive advantage?
Apart from the slew of features mentioned above, we will be making the entire range of devices available within two weeks at HP World Experience Centres, and by the end of January at multi-brand retail outlets like Croma. Other similar products are still not widely available. Besides, HP is known for its brand name displaying innovation and dependability, and efficient after-sales service.
At a time when PC penetration is increasing in rural areas, why is HP targeting the premium segment?
Although we have a lot of low-range products with innovative features for rural areas, 60% of our PC penetration still comes from cities, which have a growing number of multi-device households. Besides, more people from small towns with high disposable incomes are migrating to cities today, providing more opportunities for players like us. Thus, it is not only about price, but multiple options.
So how much do these high-end products contribute to HP’s overall revenues?
Well, ultrabooks contribute 15% to our revenues, and over the next one year, we expect 15% of our revenues to come from these three new devices.
Has HP been facing any drop in shipments recently due to the global economic scenario?
No. In India, in fact, we saw very good sales during the October-November festive season. December is traditionally a slow month, but these new launches are being promoted as premium New Year gifting options, and hence we are launching them in early January. HP continues to be the No.1 player in India and abroad in the PC business, workstation business and notebook PC business. However, we are No.3 in the business notebook space. As we are not finding this space profitable, we have very few products there.