Lenovo top PC seller in India [Hardware] [Times of India] (Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BANGALORE: For the first time, Chinese personal computer maker Lenovo has cornered the largest share in the overall Indian PC market, overtaking Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP), according to data from market researcher IDC. Latest data shows that Lenovo has a market share of 15.8% in the three months to March 31, compared to 10% in the previous period, which had put the Chinese PC-maker at 4th spot then. Dell, which is at number two spot, saw its market share shrink by 2.6 % while HP follows with a market share of 14.9 % in the March quarter. With the top spot switching among HP, Dell and Lenovo, Indian PC market is witnessing high competition, especially as the PC penetration here is extremely low and hardware makers sense a long-term opportunity. Lenovo's push to the top was aided by a large order from the Tamil Nadu government to supple free laptops to graduating school children - a promise made during last year's state assembly elections. A few months ago, Tamil Nadu announced procurement of 9 lakh laptops at about 14,000 a piece. Lenovo, along with HCL Infosystems and Acer, had bagged the contract. Coming out of a slump, the Indian PC market grew 7.7% in the first quarter of the year as a revival in consumer sentiment backed by strong sales in semi-urban areas pushed sales upwards. According to IDC, nearly 2.63 million units were shipped from January to March this year. Consumer segment grew the most at 19.6% in the first quarter of 2012 over the same period last year. "Consumer-led sales are a healthy sign," said Adwaita Govind Menon, associate director & head of new products at the Indian arm of IDC. "The growth in the consumer category is seen primarily in the portable PCs as consumer purchase pattern shifts away from the desktop devices towards more compact and mobile devices such as notebooks, mini-notebooks and other ultra portable PCs," said Kiran Kumar, senior market analyst at IDC. As governments in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab gear up to fulfil election promises, more such government deals are likely to happen in the last quarter of this fiscal year. Despite being the festive season, computer sales had gone down in the December quarter last year because of a shortage of hard disks and fluctuations in the value of rupee against other currencies, especially dollar. Brands that are importing components or the whole PC to sell it in India are struggling because of the price rise and foreign exchange fluctuations. "Everyone is making a loss in the Tamil Nadu deal," said Menon. Though sequential growth of 7.7 % is encouraging, a year-on-year growth of 3.5% is not enough, feel PC makers. "Comparatively, emerging markets are growing 15-16%," said Amar Babu, Managing Director, Lenovo India. Going by the low PC penetration level, India should grow much faster and consumer buying needs to go up, said Babu. Commercial PC market slowed down in the first quarter, dropping by about 6% year-on-year. "This is largely because of cautious spending by enterprises even as fears of global downturn remains to simmer down," said Kumar.