Every Indian wants a smartphone, and every Indian seemingly wants a laptop too. Laptops are preferable as they come with top specs and features, and Indians, from professionals to housewives want them. There is a type of laptop for every use, from merely creating spreadsheets to dynamic gaming and programming. Nonetheless, in 2020, a sudden spike in the cost of laptops was witnessed, and consumers were left wondering why. Some models saw an increase of 30% or more. As demand grew, supply was short.
Demand grew because, literally overnight, the world switched from physical office settings to at-home workplaces, and the classroom similarly moved into the home. Now every student needed a laptop for online learning — in middle income groups and average Indian homes, laptops were sought as smartphones were proving to be a tad small (though millions are used for online learning).
Laptop brands were left on the sidelines, without being able to ship their units, and having to rely only on laptops that retail outlets had in stock. Some of the best laptops under 30,000 INR previously, were selling for almost 45,000 INR.
While the situation has returned to (a new) normal with respect to the shipments of laptops, consumers find prices steep even now. It’s important to consider the context in which laptop prices (and sales) went up in 2020. Besides the world going into a tailspin, not just economically but personally for many, new adjustments had to be made instantly.
Humans had to rise to the occasion (of a pandemic, no less), and although presence of mind prevailed ultimately, laptop brands found it hard to ship their units for weeks, and they didn’t have any idea when they would.
This was a time of uncertainty, and it brought fear with it. This was the scenario, not just in India, but globally. If you wanted to buy the best laptop in India then, you’d have had to dish out much more than you bargained for. Most people settled for budget models as they had shot up to the price ranges of mid-range models.
Furthermore, refurbished models were selling for 8,000 INR – 10,000 INR more than were previously sold. For instance, a refurbished laptop by Dell (4 years old with an i5 chip), selling for 16,000 INR in April 2020 went up to 25,000 INR in June 2020. Similarly, a Lenovo T450 professional refurbished model went up to 24,000 INR from 16,000 INR.
Effects that Last
The effects of the lockdown are with us even today. A lot of employees are still working from home, at their companies’ behest, and people have shown an increased demand in laptops for the purpose of simply passing the time.
For instance, as outdoor activities have been stalled, and contact sports are halted, people have switched to gaming on their laptops. Considered one of the best laptop brands in general, the brand Lenovo increased the prices of its laptop models substantially, as demand for the brand shot up.
Some laptop brands couldn’t even meet increased demand. E-commerce portal, Amazon, after concluding its Prime Day Sale somewhere in August 2020, positioned laptops as their number one selling products during the two-day shopping fiesta.
What’s more, flagship branded models like Apple’s MacBook Air and MacBook Pro saw orders from far-flung corners of India, and failed to meet the demand. From April – June 2020, at the start of the lockdown, shipments of laptops went up by 17.6%.
Prices of laptops may have stabilized somewhat now, but the following reasons for laptop prices increasing may drive the prices up again.
- Professionals and employees are still working from home
- Students are attending classes from home
- Social distancing norms are in place, so people are forced to partake in video conferencing
- Laptops are still being used to stream live events and browse, not to mention, watch films and used as entertainment devices that are more convenient, as they are portable. They are in demand for gaming professionals as well as novice gamers
- Supply may not be able to meet the demand just yet, as laptops are still longed-for by many individuals, as well as business entities
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