While December to February are usually lean sales months for these products, these companies – particularly those that have no local manufacturing – don’t want to take any chances in case stock availability becomes an issue once the licensing regime kicks in, people cited above said.
“Some brands like Apple and Asus will get more imports since they have no local manufacturing yet for these products,” said Navkendar Singh, associate vice-president at market researcher IDC India. “Others, too, will import more since local production scaling up takes at least 6-9 months,” he said.
The government had on August 3 announced that imports of laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs and ultra-small form factor computers and servers would be allowed only “against a valid licence for restricted imports”. A day later, it deferred the implementation of the restrictions to November 1, 2023. The move seeks to promote local manufacturing of products included in the IT hardware performance-linked incentives (PLI) scheme.
IDC’s Singh said now that the government has extended the deadline, all brands would want to get as much stock as possible at least for the next 4-5 months to ensure there are no shortages in case teething issues crop up after the licensing regime for imports begins.The electronics industry had faced multiple issues on television imports with stock stuck in ports in the midst of the pandemic in 2020 when the government had started a similar licensing norm for import of televisions before the festive season that year. A senior executive at one of the largest companies in this segment said the firm will import products well in advance for almost the first six months of the licensing period. Another person said such a move will be a logical step and won’t be an issue in inventory planning since the overall market growth rate has stagnated across the world.Emails sent to Apple, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Xiaomi and Realme remained unanswered till press time on Thursday. Tarun Pathak, research director at market researcher Counterpoint, said the festive season month normally accounts for 20% of annual sales and this time the industry will see additional sell-in (to the trade) in anticipation of new rule.