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Slowdown in personal computing device sales in MEA market

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 13 Dec 2017

The personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) declined 15.2% year on year in Q3 2017.

This is according to the latest PCD Tracker for Q3 2017 from International Data Corporation (IDC). The quarterly report shows that PCD shipments fell to around 5.9 million units in MEA, for the three-month period, which represents the lowest quarterly volume recorded during the last five years.

There was slow growth in the personal computing devices MEA market in 3Q2017.
There was slow growth in the personal computing devices MEA market in 3Q2017.

"The poor performance of the tablet category was the primary cause of this decline, with shipments of both slate and detachable tablets declining rapidly year on year," says Fouad Charakla, IDC's senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

"Kenya suffered huge declines in its tablet market after a massive education project that boosted shipments in Q3 2016 was not repeated in Q3 2017. There was a near-universal decline in demand for slate tablets across the region, with the exception of IDC's 'Rest of Africa' grouping, where a large education project was delivered in Ethiopia."

HP, Lenovo, and Dell, according to IDC, together accounted for around 75% of overall commercial PCD shipments in the region during Q3 2017, while the rest of the market's players are primarily focused on serving the consumer segment.

"While market sentiment remained weak across large parts of the region, most of the key PCD markets performed relatively well during the quarter," continues Charakla.

"The region's biggest single country market, Turkey, experienced some growth, while Saudi Arabia and South Africa both remained flat. The UAE experienced a slight decline, while the rising cost of living saw consumer demand decline across the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Meanwhile, currency issues meant that consumer demand was also constrained in Nigeria and Egypt."

In July, research firm Gartner forecasted that this year, the PCD shipment market will indicate a decline of 0.3% from 2016 and return back to growth in 2018 with a 1.6% increase in shipments.

"Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years," says Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "PC shipments are slightly lower, while smartphone shipments are slightly higher - leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast."

John Geypen, country category manager, computing, at manufacturer of personal computers HP, says the key challenges facing the IT sector are the same challenges most industries are facing today and these are primarily: political instability and uncertainty, concerns about the economy following the recent downgrades and its impact on the volatility of the rate of exchange.

"The exchange rate is a key factor. If I go back a few years, we were able to retail an entry level notebook at R 2 999, which at today's rate is no longer achievable. This means PCs are far less accessible than they were a few years ago. Desktops are experiencing a continuous steady decline, especially in the consumer space, while notebooks are driving the growth, especially new form factors like detachables and convertibles," Geypen points out.

Looking at the PC market in isolation, each of the top five vendors maintained their respective positions when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2016, says IDC.

Middle East and Africa PC market Market Vendor Shares - Q3 2016 vs. Q3 2017


Q3 2016

Q3 2017













Acer Group