In a move to promote local manufacturing, the Indian government’s decision to restrict the free import of laptops, tablets, and certain personal computers has led to a surge in sales of these devices.
What Happened? Sales spiked by up to 25% last weekend sequentially over the previous weekend, according to retailers and brands. The government’s announcement has triggered concerns about potential shortages and price hikes starting in November, leading to a rush in purchases.
Online platforms like Amazon, which were running Independence Day sales, witnessed a significant surge in laptop sales following the government’s announcement. Leading electronics retail chain Vijay Sales reported a 20% increase in sales over the weekend. A spokesperson for Xiaomi India also confirmed a rise in demand for tablets in recent days.
Government’s Stance: The government has stated that a license will be required for the import of specific electronic products, but shipments can be cleared without a license until October 31. The Centre has tried to calm concerns by assuring that there will be no delays in granting licenses and permits for imports, and the move should not affect product prices. Currently, local companies assemble around 30-35% of the laptops and tablets sold in India.
Import Statistics: India imported IT hardware products worth $8.8 billion (₹72,868 crore) in FY23, with China accounting for more than half at $5.1 billion (₹42,231 crore), followed by $1.3 billion (₹10,765 crore) from Singapore. The government has also sweetened the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for IT hardware, but local output may take time to rise due to the lack of a component ecosystem in the country.
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