MEA personal computing device market declines 6.2% in Q4 as tablet shipments fall

Wednesday 7 March 2018 | 11:23 CET | News

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, for desktops, notebooks, workstations and tablets, declined by 6.2 percent year on year in Q4 2017, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The IDC Quarterly PCD Tracker shows that shipments fell to around 5.9 million units, the lowest quarterly volume recorded for more than five years.

The overall decline was almost exactly in line with forecasts but there was a stark difference between the individual product categories, with PC shipments growing healthily and tablet shipments declining faster than expected, 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 Q4 2016 was not repeated in Q4 2017.

With end-users continuing to shift to large-screen smartphones, the report says the demand for slate tablets is declining throughout the region, although the delivery of a large education project in Ethiopia saw an increase in shipments to IDC's 'Rest of Africa' grouping of countries. 

The recent introduction of 5 percent VAT in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia had a considerable impact on the market, with some vendors pushing a much higher sell-in for both countries during Q4 2017. Additionally, Charakla says various market players shipped more aggressively into the UAE during the quarter as the implementation of VAT inevitably complicates the country's position as a re-export hub.

Looking at the PC market in isolation, each of the top five vendors maintained their respective positions compared with the corresponding quarter of 2016. The top five tablet market players also maintained their respective positions in Q4 2017, although their individual performances varied. 

Samsung, Lenovo and TCL all suffered year-on-year declines in their tablet shipments, while Apple recorded moderate growth. The big winner was Huawei, which saw its tablet shipments to the region grow significantly year on year in Q4 2017. Together, HP, Lenovo and Dell accounted for around 75 percent of overall commercial PCD shipments in the region during Q4 2017, with the rest of the market's players primarily focused on serving consumers.

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