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Lenovo Strengthens #2 Position with Channels Push

Amit Singh

Lenovo has penned aggressive plans around offline channels and innovative products to strengthen its position as the #2 PC player in India. The company has recently pipped Dell to emerge as the #2 PC player with 24.1 percent market share in Q2FY2017-18, according to IDC.

Rajesh Thadani, Executive Director, Consumer Business and E-Commerce, Lenovo India

“In the consumer PC space alone, we have hit the market share of 19.1 percent in Q2. While we are still #3 in the consumer PC market, we don’t look at Q2 in isolation as Q1 (AMJ) saw a decline due to GST implementation. Hence, if we combine the two quarters, we are at the second position,” explained Rajesh Thadani, Executive Director, Consumer Business and E-Commerce, Lenovo India.

He further stated that Lenovo’s consumer PC business has grown 30 percent YoY in Q2, against the market growth of 8-10 percent YoY. The company credited the growth to its focused push on the complete refresh of the products with a colorful and rich metallic look and feel. “Unlike most of the PC players who have outsourced PC manufacturing to ODMs, we have in-house manufacturing for product innovations. While we were the first ones to introduce convertibles with our Yoga series, we have our Thin & Light series starting from as low as Rs 40,000 against expensive products from other players.”

The company is further reinforcing its product range with its sub-Rs 30,000 Thin & Light models scheduled to be launched in December 2017. In fact, Lenovo is betting big on premium devices including convertibles, gaming, and Thin & Light PCs. “While 85 percent of the PC market is still commanded by entry-level, the premium PC (above Rs 50,000) market has more than doubled in the last 2 years to 15 percent. This growth has been driven by the increasing affordability of convertibles, gaming, and Thin & Light PCs,” shared Thadani.

Further, Lenovo is not only expanding its base of exclusive stores but also investing in existing stores in terms of more people on-the-ground as in-shop demonstrators (ISD) and BTL activities for demand generation. “In fact, we were the first ones to start the back-to-college campaign in mid-June with a slew of warranty offers, freebies and tie-ups with fashion LFRs. We also had aggressive college activation,” detailed Thadani.

On the channel front, Lenovo has built its entire sales strategy on sell-out. The company has more than doubled its investments in in-store promotions and sales with over 600 resources for in-store sales and distribution sell-out. It has identified 230 stores as Premium Club Stores at prime locations with investments in shop-in-shop, product highlighter, premium product displays and customized premium programs in terms of exclusive consumer offers.

In addition, the company implemented the HeartBeat tool to monitor and manage all the PCs in its store network. HeartBeat offers a centralized control over the promotional and product content on display so that consumers have a similar experience across all Lenovo stores.

These channel initiatives have resulted in increased shelf and wallet share for Lenovo across stores: LFRs and MBOs. The company has doubled its wallet share in 120 focused MBOs and has increased share to 26 percent in LFRs.

Further, the company is strengthening its base of 170 Lenovo Exclusive Stores and 400-odd Lenovo Express Stores across 72 cities in India. “In the current fiscal, we will add 100 more exclusive stores. While consumer buying trends are inclined toward online mediums, we still believe that exclusive stores are the way forward. Consumers do visit stores to look at and feel the products and experience is the key to decision making,” explained Thadani.

Moreover, Lenovo is positioning its after-sales service as a differentiator. “Over the last 2 years, we have scaled our services dramatically. We are the only vendor to have a Twitter handle to address service issues. We reached out to 1.7 million consumers through Twitter and Facebook in our recent Service Live campaign over 48 hours, to get their feedback and lend an ear to service issues. We have specifically addressed issues around spare part availability and service locations,” shared Thadani.

He claimed that Lenovo is the first vendor to announce Premium Care, offering replacements on even a single dead pixel, extended field support from 9am-9pm,  loaner unit facility and coverage on bundled software. The company is offering Premium Care pre-bundled with many of its premium PCs or at a fee of Rs 499 with other premium SKUs.

Lenovo has also introduced App Your Service, for real-time tracking of service requests and spare part availability. It has 150 PC service centers and 177 authorized onsite centers covering 29,000 pin codes across the country.

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