While Steve Jobs created a market for tablet PCs with the blockbuster Apple iPad, it is Samsung, the aggressive Korean consumer electronics giant, that has taken a huge lead in the Indian tablet PC market using pricing as a weapon and leveraging its distribution network.
Compared with a mere 6% market share for Apple’s iPad, the $134 billion Korean giant has garnered an overwhelming 85% of the Indian tablet PC market, data released by CyberMedia Research (CMR) show.
To be sure, the data is based on the 85,000 tablets sold between November 2010 and March 2011.
“Soon after iPad announced its launch price of around Rs35,000, Samsung revised the price of Tab downwards to around Rs29,000, and it has further come down since then by a few more thousand rupees,” said Sumanta Mukherjee, lead analyst, computing products, IT peripherals and channels at CMR.
“Another reason for Samsung’s dominance is the wider availability of its products, compared with Apple,” he said.
Understandably, the Indian tablet PC market is at its nascence compared with those for PCs and laptops, where an estimated 10 million devices were sold in 2010.
Yet, the market is fast becoming a ground for intense battles, with as many as 20 vendors offering their thingamajig.
“As of August, more than 50 tablet models were available in India and CyberMedia Research expects 250,000 units to be sold during the year,” said Naveen Mishra, lead analyst at CMR’s telecoms practice.
Unlike in the developed markets, tablet PCs are not cannibalising mini-laptops or netbooks , which have been driving growth in India’s PC market of late.
“So far we are seeing the development of tablet PC market as a separate category, separate from netbooks and laptops,” said Adwaita Govind Menon, associate director of research at the Indian arm of technology researcher International Data Corporation, or IDC.
“It may happen in the future, but as yet, cannibalisation has not happened in the Indian PC market on account of tablet PCs.”
According to CMR estimates, India’s overall PC market is expected to grow 12.7% in the year to December, clocking sales of 11.15 million units and a further 14% in 2012 calendar year to touch 12.71 million units.
Interestingly, India’s current installed computer base of 52 million implies that there is one PC per 25 citizens. That’s a dramatic improvement from just four years ago in 2006, when the ratio was 1 for 50.