The current situation on the Russian PC market is determined by two factors: the need to update the computer park and the growing demand for mobile devices. It is this combination that determines the specific requirements of the corporate sector both to the equipment itself and to the terms of delivery and after-sales service.
An indirect confirmation of the ripened need to renew the park is an unexpected decline in the supply of computers and peripherals in the last quarter of last year. Most likely, this suggests that companies were preparing for large purchases, which traditionally take place in the corporate sector in the spring. Moreover, the lion’s share of computer equipment purchased by companies has traditionally been desktop workstations or monoblocks, and – due to the conservatism of the corporate sector – the first to give a clear preference.
If the epidemic had not intervened, then everything would have developed exactly in such a predictable scenario. However, as a result of the forced transfer of a significant part of employees to the remote work model, the demand for laptops comparable in performance with desktop computers increased sharply. In practice, this means that mobile devices based on at least Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processors with at least 8 gigabytes of RAM and equipped with SSDs with at least 256 gigabytes are most in demand. These characteristics may seem a bit overpriced, but we must not forget that mobile solutions often require more resources. In addition, laptops are less amenable to upgrade, so you have to buy them “with a margin”.
These circumstances led to the fact that at the end of March, the largest Russian distributors were not able to meet the explosive demand. Even monoblocks, which can be called mobile with a very big stretch, also quickly ended. And this is against the background of the fact that the epidemic has complicated both production and delivery of equipment.
It should be borne in mind that replacing desktop solutions with mobile ones requires the customer to review the budget in the direction of increasing it. Companies are ready to pay about 50 thousand rubles for one workplace, and this price includes not only the computer with the operating system itself, but also the basic set of application software. In the case of a laptop, this amount is very problematic – the price of it starts at 60 thousand rubles.
SMB is heavier than others
The increase in the budget was especially noticeable for small and medium-sized businesses, whose revenues were noticeably reduced due to forced measures designed to combat the epidemic. Some small companies moved their activities online, which required them to make changes to the computer park. And the budget for the purchase of new equipment is minimal.
A partially formed tendency aimed at refusing to be tied to a specific brand could help partially mitigate the consequences of the crisis to the consumer. Specialists of IT departments are constantly testing new devices from various manufacturers, choosing objectively the best to solve problems relevant to the company.
Nevertheless, one should not overestimate the influence of the factor of falling brand loyalty to the brand. Indeed, the customer has become less sensitive to the brand, but this applies exclusively to the “top ten” manufacturers – little-known companies in this segment have little chance of even getting tested: the business user does not want to take risks and continues to give preference to solutions with a proven reputation. For example, Acer, a brand well known to the Russian user, in the fourth quarter of 2019 leads with a market share of 18.1%.
But fame alone cannot be dispensed with – in order to attract a corporate user (of any level), additional incentives to purchase are needed.
“SMB is mobile, changeable and constantly improving. People who work in it are demanding and at the same time have diverse interests. We create products for them that could be used as profitably as possible – convenient, universal, inexpensive in their class devices– says Andrey Emelyanov, head of the commercial channel development department at Acer. – Our leading corporate laptop, TravelMate P6, is lightweight (about 1.1 kg), supports fast charging and has a large battery, it has a SIM card slot so that the user can always stay in touch, an IR camera, a touch screen. At the same time, TravelMate P6 is equipped with a video card, and the screen has excellent brightness and color reproduction (100% of the SRGB space). In addition, it is equipped with a large number of the necessary connectors (a total of seven), including RJ45, protected from the negative effects of the environment (complies with the military standard MIL-810G Spec in this regard), and yet remains the most inexpensive in its class. For those who find the 14-inch laptop weighing 1.1 kg too heavy, we have three more devices in the TravelMate line weighing less than 1 kg and even less than 900 g“.
Not only iron
A corporate customer acquires not so much a device as an associated set of services that guarantees a high level of after-sales service. With this in mind, the same Acer has adopted and promotes the “Reliability Program: Double Protection of Capital”. It operates in Russia and the EMEA region and extends to the supply of laptops (including the Travel Mate described above), desktop PCs (including Veriton), monitors and projectors. In particular, in the event of a failure of a device with Windows Pro installed within a year after purchase, the user will be returned its full cost, plus Acer will repair and return the device. This program is already quite developed and has been working steadily for 12 years. “In addition to the “Reliability Program”, we have implemented and steadily support in Russia the special conditions of the basic guarantee for all of the corporate devices listed for 3 years“, Adds Mr. Emelyanov
A wide affiliate network also speaks in favor of manufacturers. If you return, for example, Acer, such a network allowed the Taiwanese brand to build a well-functioning sales system, transparent not only for partners, but also for customers. It is thanks to her that the company’s products fall into both large corporations and SMB. The latter are guaranteed exactly the same range of services and an individual approach, taking into account the specifics of the region and business.
Andrey Emelyanov, Head of Commercial Channel Development at Acer
– Now that we are all isolated and forced to use remote systems for communication, we see all their shortcomings and better understand what we need. I am sure that there will be more online communications, working online interactions will become increasingly popular along with mobility. As a result, first of all, the requirements for the hardware of laptops will change. Already, we are seeing a request for an increase in the volume of SSDs and the need for more powerful processors. The priority will be increased requirements for the quality of the screen and the power of the “filling” and on average, and in the expensive segment.
There is no silver lining
One of the features of medium and small business is its high adaptability to changing conditions. Already today, small companies receive a significant number of applications for updating the computer park, with the main emphasis being placed on organizing effective remote work of employees. In the future, this will help enterprises increase profitability by abandoning large offices that require high rents.
On the other hand, a distributed model involves the use of a wide variety of equipment that allows you to organize a full-fledged workplace, both in the office and at home. Acer has for this purpose the already mentioned TravelMate product line, which includes both purely P2 office machines (in the photo below, on the left), and powerful P6 computers (in the photo below, on the right). The reliability of both of these is confirmed by the mentioned certificates of compliance with military standards, and the tenth generation IntelCore processors, large amounts of RAM and fast solid state drives provide high performance.
For executives, top managers and other employees with high demands on ergonomics of solutions, Acer Pro series laptops are designed that are lightweight and modern in design (for example, the Spin 5 Pro transformer in the photo below). “Also, from this year we will make our new solutions available in Russia: Enduro corporate rugged laptops and tablets, servers and graph stations, storage systems and Altos medical systems, – says Andrei Emelyanov from Acer. – We hope that consumers in Russia will appreciate our offers and the reliability of the systems.“.
What awaits the market?
All of the above circumstances make us cautious in forecasts. Most likely, a way out of the crisis will not cause explosive demand for computer equipment, especially among small and medium enterprises. First, they will need resources to “lick their wounds.” Secondly, they are unlikely to abandon the results of the already conducted optimization of the number of personnel and the mode of its work.
A certain decrease in sales may take place. But along with this, requirements for the quality and reliability of products will noticeably increase, which will lead to an increase in demand for more expensive models; while demand for laptops continues to grow.
What should manufacturers do to maintain and increase their presence in the crisis and post-crisis market? Change approaches to doing business and quickly adapt to changing conditions – for example, like Acer does. “One of the strengths of Acer is the high speed implementation of modern technology. Many industry giants are guided by the rule that new products need to be introduced gradually and no earlier than previous know-how will work out their time and bring maximum profit. Such classic marketing systems have died. A new world has emerged that requires new leaders, – says Andrei Emelyanov from Acer. – We are a leader in the gaming industry, and we transfer the best of it to the SMB solutions segment and offer the market devices that look like tomorrow’s products due to the fact that we use patented effective cooling technologies, the most advanced materials for the case, the most powerful of the available laptop batteries and the most productive processors and video cards for our mini-PCs. And at the same time, we pay special attention to reliability. We do not test new products at our customers, we protect those who are ready to use our advanced technologies right now“.
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