Steepest PC market decline yet for MEA

The Middle East and Africa PC market experienced a significant decline of 14.1% year on year during the first quarter of 2013, with tablets eating into market share in South Africa.

This is according to new data from advisory firm, the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Total PC shipments in the region slowed down to 5.3 million units, with desktops declining 18.4% year on year to 2 million units, while notebook shipments declined 11.2% year on year to total 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 cannibalizing the demand for locally assembled desktops,” Charakla said.

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 touch-screen 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 has caused all key markets in the Middle East and Africa 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.

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.

Despite suffering a sharp year-on-year decline in PC shipments of 28.8%, HP continued to dominate the Middle East and Africa PC market during the first quarter of 2013.

Dell also experienced a slowdown in shipments, posting a decline of 12.3% year on year, but it maintained its position at number two.

Lenovo was the only player among the top vendors to experience growth in the region during Q1 2013, growing 44.1% year on year to place third.

A common trait among each of these top vendors is that all three enjoy a stronghold in both the commercial and consumer end-user segments.

Portable PC vendor Toshiba suffered a decline of 5.4% year on year, but was able to climb up to fourth position, while Taiwanese vendor Acer saw its PC shipments shrink by 25.5% over the same period as it slipped down to the fifth place. The key strengths of both these vendors continue to lie mainly within the consumer segment.

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Steepest PC market decline yet for MEA