Microsoft’s new advert for the Surface Laptop 2 pokes fun at Apple for not having a touchscreen display on the MacBook. But not all Microsoft partners might be laughing at the joke. Lenovo, for instance, doesn’t think a traditional laptop with a touch screen is a great idea. In fact, the company does not see a use case for touch on regular laptops.
“There is a little low consumer adoption because the moment you add a touch screen it takes up the price. And people are not willing to pay that extra price if the utility is not there,” Shailendra Katyal, Executive Director and Head of Consumer PCSD, Lenovo India, told indianexpress.com on the sidelines of the launch of Yoga S940 in New Delhi.
Katyal believes a touchscreen does make sense on a 2-in-1 hybrid that transforms into a tablet and offers the full 360-degree experience. Even on an all-in-one desktop, there are benefits of having a touchscreen. But on a traditional laptop, a touch screen adds little value.
“We found that apart from people who want to share it and attend more for presentations or they want to use another tablet when they’re travelling, the regular use case for touch is not very high on a laptop,” he explained.
Be it convertibles or regular notebooks with touchscreens, the adoption rate for touch on laptops is a mere 10 per cent. “We tried to get into touch screen convertibles when we got into the phone and tablets as well. So the whole logic was to bring the touch and type experience into laptops. And that was a big industry move,” he said.
At one point in time, Lenovo’s Yoga series only used to offer high-end convertibles and 2-in-1 hybrids. But now the company offers many regular premium ultrabooks like the S940 in the Yoga series that doesn’t necessarily have a touchscreen.
‘The laptop upgrade cycle is increasing’
Consumers are holding onto their laptops for longer than ever. In India, the laptop upgrade cycle has steadily gotten longer over the years and consumers are waiting longer before upgrading. “People used to refresh laptops three to four years but now they are taking it a bit longer. They wait for a new product and if they feel that the current product is good enough there is no reason to change,” he said.
It’s not that the growth has stopped, Katyal echoed that sentiment. “Ïn urban India, the PC penetration is already at a very high level, it is between 50 and 60 per cent. It’s close to any mature market and there refresh is happening in a big way. And refresh is happening at a very high price point,” said Katyal.
He added that the growth is coming from the premium market, which is a positive sign. The premium laptop market (above Rs 50,000) which used to be 5 per cent of the overall market has grown to 20 per cent. In the rest of India, which primarily consists of tier-2 and tier-3 cities, PC penetration is still under 45 per cent. The demand for entry-level laptops is mostly coming from non-urban parts of India.