MEA PC market dips

The Middle East and Africa PC market experienced a significant decline of 14.1 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2013, according to preliminary results released recently by the International Data Corporation, or IDC.

By (Staff Report)

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Published: Sat 20 Apr 2013, 11:42 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:33 AM

Total PC shipments in the region slowed to 5.3 million units, with desktops declining 18.4 per cent year-on-year to two million units, while notebook shipments declined 11.2 per cent to 3.3 million units.

“With a growing portion of end users opting for tablets to meet their computing needs, the demand for PCs continues to suffer,” said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “Looking at the more mature markets within the region, this trend is extremely visible within the power retail channel, where tablet sales have already exceeded portable PC sales in some power retail outlets. Meanwhile, in markets where the purchasing power of end-users is more restricted, low-cost tablets are cannibalising the demand for locally-assembled desktops.”

Microsoft’s recently-launched operating system, Windows 8, which was primarily designed for a touch-enabled interface, has also been unable to spur incremental demand for PCs in the region.

“Since adding the touchscreen interface hikes up the price of a PC by a considerable margin, the majority of PCs shipped presently still lack touch-enabled screens,” said Charakla. “This has had the consequence of preventing the operating system from delivering to end-users the user experience it is capable of, thus causing the demand for PCs to slow down.”

Growing competition from tablets caused all key markets in the MEA region to decline year-on-year, with the exception of Turkey, which attained marginal growth, driven by an aggressive sell-in push from certain vendors, power retail campaigns, and public sector initiatives.

“While [2013’s] Dubai Shopping Festival and Gitex Shopper positively impacted PC shipments in the UAE, these could not prevent the country’s PC market from experiencing a double-digit decline year-on-year,” said Charakla.

The shift towards demand for tablets was the key reason for the year-on-year declines in PC shipments seen in both Saudi Arabia and South Africa, while the worsening economic situation in the latter compounded the slowdown of its PC market. Two large PC deals were delivered into the education sectors of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan during the quarter, but these were unable to halt the regional decline. In Egypt, political instability continues to negatively affect the economy.

Despite suffering a sharp year-on-year decline in PC shipments of 28.8 per cent, HP continued to dominate the MEA PC market during the first quarter of 2013. Dell posted a decline of 12.3 per cent, but it maintained its position at No. 2. Lenovo was the only player among the top vendors to experience growth in the region with a 44.1 per cent growth to place third. Toshiba suffered a decline of 5.4 per cent, but was able to climb up to fourth, while Taiwanese vendor Acer saw its PC shipments shrink by 25.5 per cent as it slipped down to fifth.

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