Surging tablets demand ring bells for PCs across Africa, IDC says

Surging tablets demand ring bells for PCs across Africa, IDC says

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) PC market continued to follow a downward trend during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest results released by International Data Corporation (IDC), which also revealed growing demand for tablets.[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”IDC”]”As a result, the shift from desktops to portable PCs and from portable PCs to tablets and smartphones continues apace. Furthermore, even within the portable PC segment, there is a notable shift underway from traditional notebooks to convertible notebooks and ultraslim notebooks.” [/blockquote]

PC shipments into the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey declined 14.3% year on year during the fourth quarter of 2014, to total 4.5 million units. Shipments of portable PCs declined at a rate of 18.2% year on year to total 2.7 million units, while desktop shipments declined 7.8% over the same period to total 1.8 million units.

“End users in the MEA region continue to opt for enhanced mobility, shifting to sleeker, lighter and smaller devices with longer battery lives,” says Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “As a result, the shift from desktops to portable PCs and from portable PCs to tablets and smartphones continues apace. Furthermore, even within the portable PC segment, there is a notable shift underway from traditional notebooks to convertible notebooks and ultraslim notebooks.”

“The share of PCs with touch interface also continues to grow, especially within the consumer segment,” continues Charakla. “A major contributory factor to this is that Microsoft’s latest operating system requires a device with a touch interface to enable end users to reap the best possible user experience.”

The shift towards mobility caused all key markets across the region to experience significant year-on year declines in PC shipments during the Q4 2013.

South Africa’s weak currency and high unemployment also negatively impacted the demand for PCs in the country. On the other hand, the UAE is enjoying a positive economic outlook and healthy situation overall, and consequently experienced the smallest year-on-year decline of all the region’s major markets.

According to IDC, HP continued to lead the regional PC market during the final quarter of 2013. Despite experiencing a significant decline in shipments year on year, the vendor was able to broadly maintain its market share in the region. One of the vendor’s main strengths is its presence in Africa, where it consistently performs far better than any other multinational PC vendors.

Lenovo once again attained the highest year-on-year growth rate of all the top PC vendors in Q4 2013 and climbed to the number-two position in the regional PC market. Dell, Toshiba, and Acer all experienced year-on-year declines to rank third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. Samsung’s revised strategy, which caused the vendor to divert its focus away from the volume business of notebooks, resulted in the vendor drastically losing share across the region and dropping several positions in terms of ranking.

IDC expects the Middle East and Africa PC market to experience a slight decline for the year 2014. The decline will solely result from the weaker demand for desktops in the region, with portable PC shipments are expected to remain almost flat year on year.

Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Egypt, are expected to undergo some form of recovery in 2014 after experiencing varying degrees of instability during 2013. This recovery will either help these countries attain some growth in PC shipments or at least reduce the pace of the decline, according to IDC.

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Kayode Oladeinde Technology Journalist at Technology Times. Mobile: +234 (0) 7031526929