A visible bi-product of the nationwide lockdown has been a marked spike in the demand of IT peripherals required by customers and companies alike. Right before the days prior to the Janta Curfew announcement, customers were seen standing in long queues outside many major IT peripherals markets.
With work from home (WFH) becoming the new normal, companies and individual consumers can be seen scrambling to secure various IT products for their employees. As a result, supplies of IT peripherals, including laptops, WiFi hotspot dongle, printers, data cards were sold thick and fast, leading to a sharp spike in demand for all such items.
With school classes moving online, it has meant even children in the household now needed access to IT infrastructure of their own.
“The demand for laptops, desktops has certainly gone up, as everybody suddenly wants to work from home. Companies are scrambling to secure laptops, even refurbished ones for their employers, but products are in short supply across major IT products markets. WiFi Hotspot Dongle, data cards and even printers are in huge demand now,” says Atul Chachra of Aastha Computers an importer and a reseller, based out of the Delhi’s Nehru place market, famed as the biggest electronics market of Asia.
“Though we had many orders, but we could not execute because of lack of supply,” rues Chachra, adding since all distributors are closed, there is no way they could meet the burgeoning demand in IT peripherals. “We had to skip many lucrative orders because only essential goods are allowed. Even if we have stocked supplies in our shops, we can’t give to customers. That’s a major crisis for us now.”
Hence, amidst the lockdown, there does exist demand-supply mismatch in this segment, which needs to be filled and filled fast, should the epidemic persist, leading to a possible extension of lockdown.
Industry body MAIT (Manufacturers Association of Information Technology), highlights that it had noticed a definite increase in the demand for laptops, data cards, dongles, printers in the pre lockdown time period.
According to MAIT CEO George Paul, unlike services and network bandwidth, which can be allocated on-demand online, the ICT industry works differently. Hence, ever since the lockdown was announced, there was a significant spike in demand witnessed for IT peripherals.
In Paul’s view, the growing popularity of the WFH culture is a “tipping point in the societal behavioural change on working online”, and increasingly, organisations have urged their employees to leverage their individual laptops and desktops to overcome this hurdle.
“As we go into extended lockdown, we can see one by one, more and more business services are being opened up in a controlled manner, or we expect that to be the case in near future. Subsequently, the movement of ICT products and peripherals will also begin, leading to a fairly large offtake to be seen across the country,” the industry leader remarks.
Asked how India can avoid a recurrence of any such a future event, Paul roots for promoting the concept of import substitution. He, however, adds that getting such an idea to work is easier said than done in a country like India, where there is widespread usage of Completely Knocked-Down/Semi Knocked-Down(CKD/SKD) components.
Interestingly, the Paul goes on to highlight that China also doesn’t make all components, and it’s dependent on other countries to make certain components. “So in a crisis like this, irrespective of where you are based, you are going to get hit,” he feels.