Lenovo Canada celebrates ten per cent market share milestone

Stefan Bockhop

Stefan Bockhop, director of channel sales at Lenovo Canada.

They’re number five, but they try harder.

Lenovo Canada has maintained fifth place in the Canadian PC market, but for the first time, the company’s market share eclipsed the 10 per cent mark. That number has long been a major goal for Lenovo Canada channel chief Stefan Bockhop, especially because it’s been almost exclusively done with the help of the company’s channel partners.

Consider that Lenovo is relatively new to the retail market in Canada, which makes up more than half of the PC shipments in this country, and is currently in the “low single digit” in the retail market, according to Bockhop. So there’s no place to go but up.

“We’re seeing a turn in the consumer space, with the consumer looking at our products more,” he said. “People will look at a differentiated product, something new, something innovative.”

And that’s exactly what Lenovo has been focusing on, with the introduction of the IdeaPad Yoga and a number of other products at CES earlier this year.

Managed service providers are another avenue of growth for Lenovo. Former Lenovo executive Jay McBain championed the vendor’s leap into the MSP space, and that work is starting to pay off. Anecdotally, at a recent Level Platforms roadshow event in the Toronto area, many of the MSPs in attendance were talking about Lenovo as a current or potential future partner.

Bockhop chalks it up to a simple channel program that doesn’t focus on minimum revenue numbers, as well as ThinkPad reliability.

“We break less often than our competitors, and that’s a natural fit for the MSP model,” he said. “We’re the most profitable platform for them.”

On a worldwide basis, Lenovo retained its number-two position, and gained ground during its third quarter. That puts Lenovo ahead of where it thought it could be, Bockhop said, and is “a huge validation of our strategy to move towards channel partners.”

“We put a little more distance between us and number three, and we got closer to that number-one spot,” he said. “That’s our ultimate goal, the direction and trajectory we’re working towards.”

In terms of its growing business outside the desktop and laptop markets, Bockhop said the company is gaining ground with its consumer Android tablet products, while its ThinkPad tablet, a more business-focused version, is also starting to pick up interest. For Lenovo, though, the big news will come later this year when Redmond weighs in with Windows 8.

“When Microsoft delivers an operating system with a touch-based interface at its core, that will have a huge impact, and we’re positioned very strongly in that marketplace,” he said.

The company is also planning a significant refresh and relaunch of its server lineup, beginning in its first fiscal quarter, which starts in April. Last month, Lenovo North America chief David Schmoock discussed the importance of the server lineup with ChannelBuzz.ca.