Egyptian revival spurs MEA PC market growth

By Tom Jackson, South Africa

The PC market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region grew 2.1 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2014, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), spurred by the revival of the Egyptian market and two significant education deals in Pakistan.

The latest IDC figures said the market expanded in volume terms to reach a total of 4.26 million units, the second quarter in a row growth was seen across both the desktop and portable PC segments.

Desktop shipments to MEA increased 3.6 per cent year-on-year in the quarter, to total 1.73 million units, while shipments of portable PCs were up 1.1 per cent to 2.53 million units. Vendors shipped a growing volume of notebooks carrying Microsoft's ‘Bing’ internet search solution to the region, but these devices did not see much demand despite being “aggressively” priced at around US$300.

“The market overcame ongoing instability in certain parts of the region to maintain its state of growth in Q3 2014,” said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

“For example, the Nigerian market was hit hard by the outbreak of ebola, while the war-like situation in Iraq greatly inhibited shipments to the ‘Rest of the Middle East’ sub-region comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Afghanistan.”

Charakla said vendors had also had to contend with a general slowdown in PC demand across the region due to the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones.

“Indeed, an overall regional decline was only averted by the delivery of 150,000 notebooks into Pakistan's education sector and the return of relative calm to Egypt, which saw these two countries become by far the fastest growing markets during the quarter.”

The three leading PC vendors in MEA remained unchanged from the previous quarter, with HP continuing to lead in terms of market share, posting year-on-year unit growth of 14.4 per cent for the quarter.

Second-placed Lenovo was again the fastest growing major PC vendor in the region, increasing its shipments 58.2 per cent year on year, while third-ranked Dell recorded 23 per cent year-on-year growth.

“Looking to the future, IDC expects the MEA PC market to shrink two per cent overall in 2014,” said Charakla. “The market will remain close to flat over the coming five years, and may even experience some minor declines, with demand for both desktops and portable PCs continuing to slow in many parts of the region. However, a number of underpenetrated MEA markets – including Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, and some smaller African countries – will continue to experience growth, preventing the overall region from experiencing any significant declines.”



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