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Interview: Raj Kumar Rishi, VP and MD, Consumer and Small Businesses, Dell Technologies India

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 17-06-2022 Smriti Mishra
Typically, the industry sees two-thirds of the growth coming from offline channels and one-third from online. © Provided by The Financial Express Typically, the industry sees two-thirds of the growth coming from offline channels and one-third from online.

As the company’s retail outlets witness an increase in traffic comparable to the pre-pandemic levels, Raj Kumar Rishi, VP and MD, tells Akanksha Nagar that the exclusive store will play a significant part in the growth of its gaming portfolio. He explains why the personal computer will retain its importance going forward and, as a result, hold on to the pandemic-period demand. Excerpts:

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an inevitable surge in the use of digital technologies. What are the growth drivers this year?

Globally, we have reached more than $100 billion (` 7,78,085 crore) in revenue in FY22. In the same fiscal, in India, we grew 64% y-o-y, which was a record year for Indian business. In CY22, widespread digital transformation will continue to accelerate growth in technology spending, and we are encouraged by growing demand across our entire portfolio. For the consumer and gaming business, Dell Inspiron, XPS, and G series product lines are driving the momentum in the PC segment.

Is the pandemic boom in PC sales over?

Consumers have realised the relevance of the PC but in a country like India, its penetration and adoption are still limited. So there’s a significant opportunity for it to grow. The adoption of technology will continue in the coming years across customer segments and the PC’s relevance and requirement in various aspects of life are here to stay. With the hybrid work momentum taking off in the region, the orders revenue for the full year FY22 was up 45% y-o-y for the Asia Pacific Japan Client Solutions Group (CSG), which deals in commercial PCs, notebooks, and desktops. It recorded strong demand for notebooks and desktops. The PC is becoming a symbol of a company’s commitment to technology. This is the reason we have recently launched a new gaming portfolio catering to diverse gamer profiles.

Now that the pandemic appears to be on its last legs, how do you think it would impact the business of gaming devices?

India is a growth market for gaming. Gaming contributes close to 10% of the consumer segment, but it’s growing very fast. While we saw an influx of new entrants to this segment during the lockdown months, a majority of gaming enthusiasts took up gaming seriously and went professional. The demand for gaming devices will not decrease because the pandemic is receding . In fact, for hardcore gamers, we recently launched the Alienware X14, Alienware X15, X17 R2, and Alienware m15 R7 while for enthusiasts or content creators who also want performance-heavy specs, we have the new Dell G15 Series.

Our distribution strategy for these devices is, first, through our own website, where we sell directly to the consumers apart from the e-tailer partners via key marketplaces. Second, we focus on our exclusive stores and large format retail partners such as Reliance and Croma. We have gaming zones in our exclusive outlets and gaming aisles in some of the multi-brand outlets (MBOs) too. We also train the staff there for in-store branding. I believe that the exclusive stores will play a big role in the growth of gaming devices for us.

Dell Technologies currently has 632 exclusive outlets, 852 larger format outlets and 5000 MBOs. How does the company plan to expand this year— both online and offline?

With fewer constraints, we’re witnessing an increase in the number of customers visiting our stores to try out their preferred devices (as compared to pre-pandemic levels). Also, search volumes for PCs have gone up significantly. Our strategy is to focus on omnichannel presence and therefore we have enabled our exclusive stores in displaying and selling our website’s portfolio of products too. While we recently have beefed up our store locator experience, and lead management system, we continuously make sure that there is a regular cycle to refurbish these stores and hard branding of the stores. Typically, the industry sees two-thirds of the growth coming from offline channels and one-third from online.

While offline retail continues to be active, another important factor is that consumers are finding it convenient to purchase from and other online channels. We consistently keep on increasing our product portfolio online, to give more choice to the consumer and are also looking at improving our payment options like low-cost EMIs and the overall website experience. Through our website, we deliver across tier-I, II, and III cities in India. Our plan is to go deeper into specific regions within these cities that are seeing a surge in IT parks, startup hubs, or digital businesses.

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