by September 4, 2000 0 comments

The PCQ User’s Choice Club

This year we set a cut off of four percent votes for a
brand to be reported. That is, if brand X got at least four percent of the
valid votes polled in that category, then we reported its score and also
included it in the PC Quest User’s Choice Club.

In the User’s Choice Club, instead of reporting the
percentage of votes polled, we have used the User’s perception index to
report the relative preferences for various brands.

The UPI or User Perception Index is a measure of the
relative acceptance of a brand. In each category, the winner–the brand
with the maximum number of votes–is assigned a UPI of 100. The UPI of
every other brand is expressed as the ratio of the votes they polled to
the votes polled by the winner. For example, if brand X is the winner with
200 votes and brand Y has 50 votes, then the UPI of X is 100 (winner) and
that of Y is 25 (100 x 50/200).

These are the 12th annual User’s Choice Awards and by far
the most exciting one conducted by PC Quest. There are a number of reasons for
this. Till now, PC Quest had been presenting the awards to the winners after the
results were published. So, everybody already knew who the winners were. This
time, however, we held the awards function before actually publishing the
results, thus leaving a lot of anxiety, expectation, and excitement in the air.

The year that went by saw unprecedented attention being
focused on all things IT. With IT going mainstream, and affecting people in
every walk of life, we decided to broad base the survey. So, unlike in the past,
we used the services of IMRB–one of India’s premier market research
organizations–for conducting the survey. IMRB covered both households and
corporates for appropriate product categories. Also, this time, unlike in the
past, attempts were made to identify the actual purchase decision maker, and put
the survey questions to him or her, rather than to anyone else.

The objective for the survey remained the same as ever, to
assess the choice of the Indian user when it comes to purchasing IT products and

Survey methodology

The survey was conducted in eleven cities across the country.
These included the four metros of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, and Chennai. The
other cities were Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Cochi, Lucknow, and
Patna. Together, these cities account for a vast majority of Indian IT

Over 2,600 interviews were conducted, including 1,979 in
corporates and 662 in households. A questionnaire was first sent to these
decision makers, and a follow up to that was over telephone. The respondents
were drawn from IMRB’s ITops 2000 database using random sampling, which is a
robust methodology widely used for market surveys.

The sample for corporates was distributed across different
organizations based on their size, turnover, and type. The household sample was
distributed across standard socio-economic classifications, which include
education and occupation of the person as the main criteria.

The questionnaire was open-ended and didn’t in any way
prompt the respondent for an answer. Nor was any indicative answer or list of
products given for the respondent to choose from. In other words, the
questionnaire was as unbiased as possible. The respondents were asked three
basic questions regarding each product category: which brand/vendor they were
currently using; if they were to choose a brand in the next six months, which it
would be; and the top two reasons (out of five given) for that choice. The five
reasons that the respondents were to choose from were price, quality,
availability, reliability, or any other reason.

The categories

There are any many products in the market. The categories
that we chose are based on product areas that are relevant to a large cross
section of users. We actually covered more categories in the survey than are
finally reported. Some of these ended up being dropped because of low
purchase-preference by the respondents.

This time, we divided the categories differently compared to
last year’s black and white hardware and software. This year’s
classifications are Personal computing, Web computing, and Enterprise computing.
The break-up includes fifteen categories in the first one, five in the second,
and fifteen in the last, totaling to 35 different categories.

This year, nine new categories have been introduced, and some removed. As we
mentioned, a category is included based on the response from voters. Nine is not
a small increase for one year, which is a clear indication of how fast the
market is really growing. Amen!

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