Fri, 16 Jul 2010

From: The Jakarta Globe

By Irvan Tisnabudi
Sales of personal computers surged by 76 percent year-over-year during the second quarter, with the popularity of netbooks driving much of the increase, according to the Indonesian Computer Business Association.

Wijaya Suhanda, chairman of the industry group, also known as Apkomindo, said Indonesian consumers bought 1.2 million PCs at a total cost of $2.8 billion during the second quarter, up from 680,000 units at $1.62 billion in the year-earlier period.

Wijaya said improved consumer purchasing power and cheaper prices for netbooks and laptops due to the rising rupiah fueled the increase.

Sales of portable computers, such as laptops and netbooks, made up 60 percent of total PC purchases, and netbooks accounted for two-thirds of the portable PC sales. Netbooks are less expensive, stripped-down versions of laptops.

Netbook sales nearly doubled, rising to $1.24 billion in the second quarter, up from $651 million in the year-earlier period.

The sales boom is not surprising, particularly given the lower prices for netbooks at $300 to $500, hundreds of dollars less than most laptops, and efforts by cellular data network carriers to boost their subscriber bases.

Sales volume of netbooks in the country reached almost 500,000 unit in the last quarter, compared with 270,000 in the same period last year.

According to Daniel Rustandi, marketing director of PT Acer Indonesia, the nation’s improving telecommunications also stimulated sales of PCs, especially portables.

“Indonesia’s infrastructure supporting PC usage has definitely gotten better, especially the growing number of Wi-Fi locations,” Daniel said.

“So with the improving infrastructure, the number of PC users, especially laptop and netbook users, will naturally increase.”

Daniel said he expected the number of locations, such as cafes and restaurants, offering wireless hotspots to increase by at least 25 percent this year.

He also explained that more and more Indonesians are buying netbooks and laptops due to their more compact size compared to unwieldly desktop computers.

“About two to three years ago, Acer’s desktops sales were relatively even with laptops and netbooks, but this year, portable computer sales make up 70 percent of Acer’s PC sales,” he said.

Continually falling prices for netbooks and laptops further boosted sales, he said. “If we look back about two years ago, the price of Acer laptops and netbooks were getting more and more competitive, dropping an average of about 20 percent.”

With Indonesia’s PC sales soaring 76 percent in the second quarter, Acer recorded an even more impressive increase.

“The sales total in the second semester of this year doubled compared to the same period in 2009,” Daniel said.

Improved consumer purchasing power also contributed to the rising number of PC sales in Indonesia, according to Wijaya.

“Consumer confidence, backed by the strengthening rupiah, triggered the increase in sales of personal computers in Indonesia.”

Apkomindo estimated total computer sales in Indonesia this year would top at least 3.6 million units, compared with 2.8 million last year, a 29 percent increase. PC sales totaled about $7.8 billion in 2009.

Apkomindo expects 2010 PC sales to reach $8.6 billion.

Wijaya, who owns a computer store in the Mangga Dua shopping center, told the Jakarta Globe that his store enjoyed a sales increase of more than 40 percent this year through May compared with the year-earlier period.

“In the first five months of this year, my store enjoyed quite a significant increase in sales total, about 40 percent,” he said.

He speculated that the recovery from the global economic crisis had been the key driver in raising his sales tallies.

“During the first four to five months of 2009, sales were really miserable at my store, perhaps due to the global financial crisis, but now customers seem more willing to spend,” Wijaya said.