MEA PC Market Set for First Sign of Growth in Seven Quarters

4109The Middle East and Africa PC market (including Turkey) is tipped to end a dismal run of seven consecutive quarters of year-on-year declines in Q2 2014 by posting long-awaited growth of 3.2%, according to the latest forecasts from research and advisory services firm International Data Corporation (IDC). The recently compiled results for Q1 2014 were not so positive, however, with overall PC shipments down 8.3% year on year to total 4.8 million units, although this decline was slower than previously expected.

“Demand in the regional PC market continues to suffer as end users maintain their shift toward tablets and smartphones,” says Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “However, aggressive pricing strategies, an increasing focus from PC vendors on introducing innovative new form factors, and signs of recovery from the political instability that plagued certain parts of the region have all combined to soften the pace of decline in the PC market.”

Emerging products such as All-in-Ones in the desktop category and convertible notebooks and ultraslim notebooks in the portable PC space continue to gain momentum, although this is largely at the expense of demand for the traditional desktop and notebook form factors. And after being active in the computing industry for almost seven years, mini-notebooks have reached their end-of-life in the region, with no units shipped during Q1 2014.

“The ongoing recovery from political tensions and other major issues in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa contributed significantly to the revival of PC demand in those countries, causing PC shipments to either grow or decline at a much slower rate,” continues Charakla. “At the same time, the discontinuation of support from Microsoft for its Windows XP operating system (OS) forced some organizations in the region to upgrade the OS in their PCs, while others opted to replace their PCs altogether, which positively impacted commercial demand.”

Looking at the market in more detail, portable PC shipments declined 8.9% year on year in Q1 2014 to total 3 million units, while desktop shipments declined 7.2% to 1.8 million. The top five vendors remained unchanged from the previous quarter. HP maintained its lead after posting year-on-year growth of 14.9% thanks to its stronghold in both the commercial and consumer segments and its significantly stronger share in the African PC market. Second-placed Lenovo achieved astounding growth of 55.4% year on year, courtesy of its strong performance in the consumer segment, while Dell, Toshiba, and Acer posted declines of 4.5%, 11.6%, and 10.5% respectively.

Looking ahead, IDC’s forecast for growth in Q2 2014 will see PC shipments to the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey reach 4.5 million units, while 2014 overall is expected to see shipments increase 1.9% year on year, with desktop PCs declining 3.7% and portable PCs growing 5.5% due to the ongoing shift toward mobility. A number of large-scale education deals, particularly in Pakistan and Kenya, will also contribute positively to the growth of portable PC shipments in the region. However, beyond 2014, the regional PC market is expected to return to a state of consistent marginal decline.

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