InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “Serving the Demand, Better and Faster”

Emmanuel Fromont, the Corporate Vice President for Acer Inc. and President of Acer EMEA, says that Acer remains excited about the potential in the MEA region

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
2021 was an excellent year for the PC industry and also for Acer. The growth was constrained by supply availability more so than by market demand. Despite the supply constraint, the industry is expected to deliver growth in a number of units and even more in revenue. Acer worldwide has welcomed 16% revenue growth year-to-date (up till November) after growing already 18% in 2020.

What sort of opportunities will 2022 bring along?
2022 should be another strong year for the PC industry – with flat to small growth expected based on unfulfilled demand from 2021. We expect most segments to do well, but Commercial will have a slight advantage of being better than Consumer. Similarly, we believe Gaming will continue to perform better in 2022. We see as well a positive long-term trend for the PC coming from the increased requirement of virtual meetings due to travel restrictions and the hybrid working model.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
Supply was the main challenge in 2021. Several components were in very short supply including semiconductors, which impacted other industries, in addition to a shortage in panels. Logistics was also a big challenge in 2021, as containers were missing, transportation capacity was not enough and even last-mile deliveries were difficult in some countries due to labor shortages. All these issues resulted in long lead-times and increased overall costs.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
Acer was able to deliver solid growth despite the challenges above as well as improve our profitability. We have maintained the lead in the Chromebook segment with strong positions in Gaming and solid deliveries in Education.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
With supply improving and demand still strong, we look forward to 2022 as an opportunity to maintain the momentum while regaining some market shares. We also see the commercial segment holding a lot of promise as companies seek to empower their employees with powerful on-the-go and high-performance systems in the new hybrid working environment. New CPU generations and the launch of Windows 11, along with the new technologies from Acer such as SpatialLabs, aero blade cooling fans, antimicrobial treatments should keep driving demand.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
Yes, we definitely see opportunities in MEA – some markets that were showing promising signs of growth pre-pandemic should go back to momentum, as fewer travel restrictions are applied and more supply becomes available. Egypt comes to my mind as a perfect example, but there are also opportunities to explore Iraq and other countries within this region.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
We will see a continuation of trends such as long battery life, thinner designs, high-resolution cameras, as well as touch screens capabilities. Once again, new CPU generations and the launch of Windows 11 will contribute to a new cycle of purchase. Gaming is still booming, as it always demands the latest generation and high-performance products. Finally, technologies such as Wifi 6 and 5G may also support the market in 2022.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
Our key focus will be “Green” products while maintaining our strong market shares in Education and Gaming segments. Acer is committed to becoming the most “Green” PC Company and will be launching a series of products under the “Vero” label which will leverage PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) plastics. Key features such as packaging is made from 100% recyclable material and no plastics, the Vero line-up will also be easy to repair and durable. Another focus area will be antimicrobial treatments in many products considering challenges in the world post-pandemic.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
Our focus is to maintain the growth we have received over the years and continue being a profitable and sustainable company. We plan to continue bringing great products and best-in-class services to our customers while ensuring that Acer becomes a “green” company and offers “green” products to the market. Our focus is also to maintain leadership in the Gaming and Education segments and extend our presence in more markets.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
We hope to serve the demand better and faster. This year there were many compromises made due to supply constraints and very long lead-times. We would like for our customers to find the products best suited for them and will provide a large variety of products covering all segments of the PC industry.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
We have expanded to all parts of the globe, but we aim to better supply a number of underserved markets. Another big focus will be towards Acer Aspire Vero and our Green products line-up in general, as we mentioned earlier.

Announced during this year’s Global Press Conference, the new Vero line-up has been expanded to service both consumer and commercial segments, all under the umbrella of utilizing green guidelines and giving both the means to champion sustainable practices. The new line-up includes the commercial Acer TravelMate Vero eco-friendly business laptop, and the Acer Veriton Vero a green mini PC designed to provide commercial-grade performance in a compact package. Additionally, a number of accessories were introduced within Vero line-ups such as mice, mousepads, and laptop sleeves, for users who are interested in going all-green.

We remain very excited about the potential in the MEA region and believe we will see appetizing growth in the next few years in the region. Despite the many challenges, we closed November 2021 in the Middle East with a 20% growth in revenue YTD. And this momentum will grow as supply gets better.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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