spoke to A Akthar
of Challenger Computer,
one of the biggest dealers
in computer peripherals, fax modems, multi media products, printer
accessories and consumables on Ritchie Street.
The Computer market today
which is acknowledged as a huge market, has the same standard of
products that are there on the international market. The manufacturers
of computer hardware, computer peripherals, consumables and other
accessories have taken us seriously and this is reflected in the
market where all the goods are of the same standard as in the international
market. The computer buyer in Chennai gets the latest product at
the same time as in the world market. The prices are all positioned
aggressively for the end user. This has been the trend right from
1998 onwards. I would say, not only in Chennai, but also across
the country. Two years ago, there was one major issue that was dogging
the retail scene in Chennai. This was about the warranty and after-sales-service
offered by MNC's like Samsung, LG
and others. From the end
of 1998 onwards even this became a non-issue as the big manufacturers
have strengthened their warranty and after sales service and the
customer has an excellent support system at present. This and the
IT boom have all made it the right time for anyone planning to buy
a PC. People are now aware of the boom that has taken place in the
The computer retail market nets sizeable revenue for the state government
in the form of tax, which is applied on every product that is sold
in the market.
Trends in computer purchase
over India you can observe a similar trend in the purchase decision
of people buying a computer. 70 to 80% of the companies, small offices
and home users either buy the components and will assemble their
own PC or get it assembled through a qualified hardware engineer.
The rest of the consumers go in for branded PC's. What is more important
and crucial for branded manufacturers is to understand why people
prefer assembled computers to the branded ones. It is not only because
of the price, but also, when a person buys an assembled computer,
there is much more flexibility as far as the configuration and one
can personally check the components that go into the system. The
person who is investing forty to fifty thousand rupees in a computer
should be able to check the system and its performance. It is the
least that a company should do for its customer.
there is a slight catch when going in for an assembled computer.
The end user, be it a person from the company or the home user who
is making the purchase decision, has to take into consideration
the background of the firm s/he orders the assembled computer from.
If the firm is unethical and unscrupulous, they will place second
hand components and just give you a new cabinet. If this is to be
avoided, one has to check the antecedents of the firm; like how
many years it has been in the market and ask previous customers
of the firm about its after-sales-service. One should not always
look at price alone, while going in for a computer. The price can
be quite misleading in some cases. Low-end prices or high-end prices
do not always mean a good or bad bargain. There may be hidden factors
or the after-sales-service response-time that may be poor.
As far as the consumables market is concerned, the potential is
very high, since this is a fast moving segment. With the demand
for computers only increasing, the consumable market is certainly
going to grow. There is a very good distribution network as far
as the consumables for computers are concerned. Also there is very
wide choice for the consumers.
This is a very volatile market as far as the prices are concerned.
The prices fluctuate almost on a daily basis. Some of the factors,
which influence this fluctuation of prices, are the dollar rate
and the international market trend in the computer hardware market.
These factors combine to make the prices either drop or rise. The
most significant factor that I would single out for the price rice
in the market is the dollar rate. When the rupee gets devalued against
the dollar, then the price of every single component goes up.