HP Inc. launched its top line of computers in Colombian last month, bringing an array of new laptops, desktops, and devices to the consumer and corporate markets. The focus of the offerings, which the company calls its HP Premium line, is to jump further into an attractive segment that is dominated by a few major players.
Ten years ago, Colombia might not have been a place that was drawing so much attention for high-end electronics. This is especially so for a company like HP that controls 19% of the global PC market, according to Gartner Research, and has not focused on selling top-line, consumer-based equipment. But given the nation’s large population — its 48 million people makes it the third biggest country in Latin America — and growing middle class, there are now enough buyers to demand attention.
Millennials are also the most connected generation, so increasing market share and brand recognition in Colombia now could be a good play for the long term. The median age in Colombia is only 29.3 years old, according to the CIA, nearly two years younger than Brazil and more than eight years younger than the United States. So whether the goal is to grow in the consumer sector or the business world, selling today’s 20-somethings on your brand means having influence with the corporate decision makers of tomorrow.
The HP Spectre is the gem of the new line. HP claims that it is the thinnest laptop in the world, and it would hard to make anything thinner or lighter that still qualifies as a laptop. Having a screen hinge that folds into its body is the main innovation that allows the Spectre 13″, at 0.41 inches and 2.45 pounds, to come in skinnier and lighter than the comparable, 13-inch MacBook Air. Its clear rival claims a relatively hulking 0.68 inches and 2.96 pounds.
On the other end of the spectrum is the sleek, 34-inch curved screen of the HP Envy All-In-One PC. This desktop model features a similarly upgraded look and style in a much bigger package with more power. Its 16GB of RAM and 2-terabyte hard drive offer enough for workhorse use, while HP also sees the Envy as a centerpiece for a family’s home entertainment center.
Further evidence of HP’s push for posh is in the sound. The Silicon Valley-based company partnered with respected Danish audio pioneer Bang & Olufsen to put better speakers in both this model and others in the line.
To learn more about the company’s premium move into Colombia, we recently sat down with Santiago Barbosa, enterprise manager at HP Inc. He broke down why now is the time for Colombia and which markets the company is targeting.
Finance Colombia: How has the response been for the HP Premium launch in Colombia? Have the sales so far met, exceeded, or underwhelmed expectations?
Santiago Barbosa: The HP Premium line launch has been very successful due to the high acceptance from both the business and consumer markets. This is a new portfolio focused on the reinvention of technological devices with innovative designs, new materials, high performance, and the latest-generation processors.
The nine computers that were presented in Bogotá in July are a way of showing how, in HP, we believe in innovation. We also believe that we should be leaders in this market through new offerings that actually transform the consumer’s experience with the equipment and with their reality.
In terms of sales figures, we are very happy to have exceeded our expectations. The reception has been very good, and this is due to us approaching different types of consumers with different IT needs. But overall the portfolio is characterized by offering excellent product attributes, such as the battery life, performance, design, and luxury, among others.
Finance Colombia: Was the HP Premium launch solely in Colombia or is HP pushing for similar expansion into other Latin American markets?
Santiago Barbosa: We are realizing this launch in different markets in Latin America. Colombia has been one of the first countries to receive this line that promises a great success for the company in terms of sales and market leadership. We realized the launch in Bogotá but the Premium portfolio is going to be available on the national level due to our wide network of distributors.
Finance Colombia: What is it about Colombia, now in July 2016, that makes this consumer market so attractive? Is it simply a matter of a growing middle class with more purchasing power and a larger demand for high-end tech products?
Santiago Barbosa: The consumer market will always be important for us, not only because it is a growing market but also because new generations have a closer approach to technology. It is an essential part of everyday life.
We are talking about Millennials and Generation Z, who understand the need of having IT tools with an innovative design, high performance, and features that allow them to be connected and performing different tasks simultaneously. This is a market that undoubtedly interests us and in which we have invested with this new line of equipment of high quality and luxury.
But in terms of the consumer market and the business market, these two markets are equally important to HP. Because in each of them there are different opportunities and features that allow us to offer product focused on the specific needs of each market.
At the corporate level we see professional innovations, the ecosystem of the product, and the way that companies are offering new services to their customers. These all represent an excellent opportunity for growth.