PERIPHERALS: Price-cuts Stunt Growth



Growth slowed down, and the US slowdown was the best-known culprit. Hidden
away were far more causative factors–the aggressive pricing model adopted by
most MNC vendors resulted in a bloodbath. While the top-end numbers looked
healthy enough–with the peripherals market clocking revenues of Rs 2,517 crore
overall, against Rs 2,070 crore in the previous year, a growth of around 22%
(45% in 1999-00)–a segment-wise analysis revealed that it was only heavy
buying by the SME and SOHO segments that were fueling growth… For much of the
rest, it was time for cautious treading, and thoughtful planning.

Printers

An estimated 798,732 printers were sold during 2000-01, a growth of 17% in
unit terms. However, in terms of value, the growth actually slipped from last
year’s Rs 823 crore to Rs 767 crore.

The
Printer Scorecard
Category 1999-00 2000-01
Value Share % * Value Share % *
Impact Printers 370 48 301 37
Laser Printers 182 24 196 24
Inkjet Printers 215 28 326 40
Total Printers 767 37 823 33
Others 1,303 63 1,694 67
Total 2,070   2,517  
* Percentage for different
printer categories are on the basis of ‘Total Printers’

Inkjets, at the cost of other printer categories, enjoyed a healthy growth of
52% in terms of value and 48% in terms of units. A total of 472,165 units were
shipped during the fiscal, valued at Rs 326 crore. Hewlett-Packard, the market
leader in the category, made a drastic gradual cut of about 30% in the price of
its models, forcing other players like Epson and Canon to reduce their price
points. HP dominated the market, commanding around 74% marketshare in unit
terms, followed by Epson with 17%.

HP remained the leader in the segment, with a marketshare of 74%, while Epson was second at 17%. Overall, inkjets enjoyed a healthy growth of 52% in terms of value and 48% in terms of unitsNew entrants like Xerox and Sharp threw in some challenge. Compaq made a
surprise entry, bundling its own brand of inkjet printers with its Presario and
Deskpro range of PCs. It will be interesting to watch if these debuts will
affect the so-far bipolar nature of competition–driven by HP and Epson. The
home segment emerged as the biggest driver, accounting for nearly 40% of inkjet
units shipped. The SMB and the SOHO segments made up for 30% and 25%,
respectively, while others consumed the remaining 5%.

The impact printer market underwent a major vendor repositioning, as last
year’s leader Wipro lost its dominance. In stark contrast to a total of
111,616 impact printers last year, valued at Rs 143 crore, Wipro shipped a mere
35,800 units this year at a total of around Rs 43 crore. The dismal performance
by Wipro had a great deal of negative impact on the overall printer revenues,
and consequently on the peripherals revenues as well. From a revenue of Rs 370
crore last year, the impact printer market witnessed a sharp skid to Rs 301
crore, and was thus forced to bear with a negative growth rate of 19% in value
terms. With the overall printer market closely tied up with the PC industry,
vendors are taking the bundling route like never before. For instance, Epson
forged a tie-up with Zenith, Compaq, Vintron, Acer and HCL to bundle its
offerings.

Monitors

Last year’s leader Wipro lost its dominance. It shipped a mere 35,800 units this year, compared to 111,616 units in the previous year. TVSE continued to lead with 134,000 unitsThe year started on a strong note, and vendors enjoyed the healthy trend till
Q3. In the last quarter, however, they found it somewhat difficult to push their
offerings. This is the quarter when the bulk government buying takes place.
Overall, in the fiscal 1999-00, the segment notched up a high growth rate of 60%
to garner revenues worth Rs 807 crore. Samsung dominated the monitor arena,
commanding the maximum share. The spurt of multimedia activity also led to
growth in the 15-inch monitor segment. Since these monitors are larger and more
suited to the job of multimedia professionals, these were gobbled up overnight.
Samsung and LG got aggressive to prop up their marketshare, flexing their
financial power also for the same. This gave domestic monitor vendors a rough
time, as their marketsher continued to skid.

Hard disk drives

HP was the overwhelming winner, but it was a rough year for laser printers. A total of 68,882 units were shipped for a revenue of Rs 196 crore, as compared to 57,546 units and Rs 182 crore in the previous year, a growth of only 8%The segment grew at a rate of around 35%, even as vendors packed more and
more storage capacity on the platters. 20 GB became the default for the
entry-level disk space. Seagate remained the undisputed leader, commanding a
market share of around 70%. The rest was divided between players like Samsung,
Quantum and Western Digital.

The year also saw the spears being sharpened for a battle in the ensuing
year. Samsung was busy crafting strategies to up its market-share, and announced
its intent to garner a market share of 40% in 2000-01. It has put in place an
aggressive customer-support strategy by launching a dedicated help line for its
hard disk range in the country. Seagate was not blind to these developments–it
took concrete steps towards enabling consumer appliances with HDDs. It is
already in talks with leading consumer electronics vendors in India for
integrating its drives in appliances like television and refrigerators.

Scanners

The competition between major players–UMAX and HP continued with each
trying to dominate the other. HP’s domination in the government sector was
challenged by UMAX, which made a significant number of installations in the
sector. HP made successful inroads in the home segment by leveraging its huge
reseller network and bundling its scanners with its Pavilion brand of home PCs.
Domestic players like Microtek took strong initiatives, and made their presence
felt in the space.

The demand for scanners was also strong from small desktop publishing
outfits, many of which started offering scanning services. Although it was not
significant in terms of numbers, it certainly outlined the emergence of a new
trend. More importantly, such a phenomena is likely to speed up the adoption of
PC-based imaging solutions in the country. This, in turn, should catalyze the
rate of scanner penetration.

CD drives

Compact disk drives have really moved toward becoming a default choice for PC
users. This is a major shift from the device being seen as a costly accessory
barely a couple of years ago. In the last fiscal, on an average, an estimated
72,000 CD drives rolled out.

The Indian market, as of now, is divided between read and write disk drives.
While the majority of home PCs sported only CD-ROM drives, players made attempts
to migrate users to CD-RW drives. HP, for instance, fitted CD-RW drives in its
high-end Pavilion PCs. Among other peripherals, keyboards, FDDs UPS,
motherboards, Web cameras, graphic cards, and SCSI cards registered a decent
growth during the year. DVD drives are yet to pick up, mainly because of the
high costs and also because enough DVD applications are not available in the
country right now.

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