Acer sets sights on SME market amid sales drop

The SME market looks set to be a core strategy for Acer in the UK over the next five years

The small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) market is to be a core strategy for Acer in the UK over the next five years.

The company is aiming to have a 50-50 split in the market between the enterprise and consumer, and expects to make significant moves into the SME space over the next five years, according to Simon Turner, regional director of Acer Northern Europe. Its business market currently accounts for a double-digit percentage of the company’s UK sales, he said.

Our core strategy is to work with resellers, rather than selling direct [to businesses]. We have a reasonable footprint in that [small business] sector already,” said Turner.

The news comes as the Taiwanese company's sales fell by 19% to NT$92bn (£2bn) in its first quarter, compared with the same period last year, and profits before tax dropped by 20.5% to NT$450.

EMEA accounted for 21% of its global sales in the quarter, up 1% compared with the same quarter last year. The company said it ranks third in EMEA for PCs and second for notebooks.

“In any business, you have to look where the growth is coming from. If you don’t grow, you will tend to shrink, whatever segment you work in. The core technology for commercial and consumer is identical, so [the enterprise] is the most obvious place for medium-term growth,” said Turner, speaking at a product launch in New York, where the company unveiled a new range of hardware in a bid to stimulate flagging sales.

The new devices include an Aspire P3 Ultrabook, singled out by Acer as ideal for businesses outfitting mobile workforces because of its portable 1.39kg weight and Windows 8 operating system. 

Dale Vile, analyst at Freeform Dynamics, said Acer could move further into the business space if it follows through with good channel communication and quality of support to the business user. “But the big question at the moment is the role of Windows 8 [in the business],” he said.

The company also unveiled an Aspire R7 notebook, which combines touch and type facilities and doubles up as a tablet. However, Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Gartner, said sales of convertibles in enterprises are still very small. 

“Prices are high still and enterprises are just in the process of evaluating their options, both as far as wanting to move to Windows 8 and then upgrading their devices to a convertible/hybrid. There is no question that these types of devices will play a role in the enterprise for mobile users, but we are just getting started,” she said.


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