Marketing Brand Strategy Future of Media

Inside HP’s big ‘game’ plan for the India market


By Amit Bapna | Editor-at-large

September 15, 2021 | 5 min read

As gaming continues its prolific growth in the post-pandemic world, brands are relooking at their portfolios to cater to this evolving consumer’s ‘work-and play’ demands. The Drum finds out more about HP gaming strategy from Vickram Bedi, senior director, personal systems - HP India Market.

Even as many categories faced unprecedented stress owing to frequent lockdowns and reduced consumption, one category that has been on a high growth curve in the post-pandemic world has been gaming.

As increasingly countries went in for frequent lockdowns, it meant more people staying at home more often and thus the need for entertainment – without the actual physical interaction – saw an all-time surge. This has also meant consumers investing in gaming infrastructure, beyond playing the games on their mobile phones.

The sharp surge in gaming-led demand has led to the major players like HP, Lenovo, Asus recalibrating their gaming portfolio with renewed focus as it emerges as one of the highest growing sub-categories within the consumer portfolio.

Gaming - one industry that has grown during the pandemic

The gaming industry has been on a growth path last few months and is being seen increasingly for its long-term potential. Not just a leisure activity, but gaming has emerged as a viable career opportunity as well. As per the findings of ‘Gaming Landscape Report 2021’ over 90% of respondents agreed that the gaming industry is a viable career option.

Within gaming, India’s gaming community is showing a growing preference for PC gaming with 89% of gamers believing the PC delivers a better gaming experience than a smartphone.

The new social glue

There is a huge social and cultural change happening around gaming as a genre as Indian consumers embrace gaming in unprecedented ways. Gaming is becoming a part of the wider societal discussions around combating stress, skill development, and social interactions.

Vickram Bedi, senior director, personal systems for HP's India market shares: “PC gaming is increasingly being viewed as a stress buster and a tool to connect with friends and family, especially during the prevalent challenge of limited social interaction.” 91% of the consumers surveyed believe that gaming fosters better peer-level socialising and helps make new friends as well as boosts attention and concentration levels.

The gender rules of gaming

Another key trend that is changing the world of gaming is the changing gender paradigm - the gaming landscape is evolving to become more gender-balanced. HP survey found out that women tend to have greater expectations compared to men when it comes to gaming. Bedi says: “The relatability of gaming to them has increased some of the best gamers that we've worked with are women.”

The emerging patterns point out that they're more likely to move to PCs, they're more likely to buy a gaming product that is newer than a year ago, and they're more likely to pursue a career in gaming, he adds.

A look at HP’s play

Gaming represents a significant growth opportunity for the Indian PC industry and continues to be a key driver of HP's continued development in the PC category, shares Bedi. The company has been witnessing the growth of the PC gaming industry by 50% CAGR for the last few years and this tops all segments of PC sales in India, he adds.

HP introduced its gaming portfolio in India, in 2017. The gaming ecosystem includes a range of gaming PCs, displays and gaming peripherals, that included mice, headphones, gaming keyboards, and gaming chairs, to deliver an elevated gaming experience.

The existing portfolio comprises the Omen and Pavilion series, catering to high-end and casual gamers as well as the recently announced next-generation mainstream gaming PC portfolio Victus, targeted at both casual and experienced gamers.

Community marketing and listening to the gamers

From a go-to-market strategy, HP has been doing less ATL spends for this category and focusing more on building and engaging with the relevant community of gamers. Bedi says: “We share our users' enthusiasm for gaming and take insights from regions like India and translate this globally - an inspiration for how we drive our worldwide gaming strategy and ecosystem.” The brand has created a gaming community to connect, engage and listen to gamers and innovate basis their evolving needs, he adds.

A key finding basis the engagements with Indian gamers has been around gamers preferring both offline and online routes to purchase their preferred gaming devices. Accordingly, the brand has worked towards creating a robust omnichannel ecosystem to offer the best-in-class customer experience.

From being ‘frowned upon’ to being accepted as a legitimate way to fulfilling a social need especially during the lockdown, gaming has indeed come a long way. It would be interesting to see how far will it play up.

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