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Laptop’s being lapped up – Cost and convenience prompt shift from table to mobile

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The tech tool has moved from the the table to the lap. With more and more PC-users switching from desktop to laptop, the mobile computer has hit the fast lane.

“Close to 80 per cent of customers entering our store to buy a machine choose laptops,” says Naresh Kumar Bothra, the chief executive of Computer Exchange on Park Street. The average monthly sales figure bears out the fact — laptops 200-plus; desktops less than 40.

Sujan Mahapatra, the regional sales manager of HCL (east), is equally bullish about the laptop boom. “Six out of 10 buyers prefer a laptop to a table computer. They could be first-comers or repeat buyers but laptops are in great demand. Around 10 to 15 per cent of our overall sales come from laptops, even though we entered the market only six months ago.”

Convenience and cost are the twin causes why the laptop is being lapped up. A basic HP laptop with all essential features is priced at Rs 26,999 and a high-end configured one like those of HCL starts from Rs 36,000.

“The laptop consumes less power, has battery back-up, gives the user mobility and is also a status symbol,” sums up Mahapatra.

Segment-specific models and brands are also responsible for the switch to the ‘mobile comp’. Computers broadly fall into three categories — for the corporate world, students and the general public.

“Many machines now are bought by parents for their children,” says Bothra. At Computer Exchange, MNC brands like Lenovo, HP and Compaq comprise 90 per cent of sales.

With the life span of a desktop bigger than its laptop counterpart, what tilts the scales? “The laptop gives you the same features as a desktop and occupies lesser space. Single users and small offices prefer them. In Calcutta, the ratio of laptop to desktop buyers is still 50:50, but it should soon catch up with the national ratio of 70:30,” feels Kaushik Mukherjee, Apple authorised re-seller.

“Sixty per cent of our sales come from Apple laptops, and 40 per cent from desktops and workstations,” he adds.

And Apple doesn’t come cheap with the starting price for an iMac desktop being Rs 54,100 and Rs 58,700 for a laptop. “Laptops are most in demand from single consumers and corporate houses but government offices, banks and PSUs still prefer desktops,” reveals Mukherjee.

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