Slowdown in Tablet Demand Hits Middle East & Africa PCD Market


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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, declined 15.2% year on year in Q3 2017, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC). The global technology research and consulting firm's Quarterly PCD Tracker for Q3 2017 shows that PCD shipments fell to around 5.9 million units for the three-month period, which represents the lowest quarterly volume recorded during the last five years.

"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."

"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 the tablet space, Samsung experienced the biggest year-on-year gain in share among the market leaders. Lenovo cemented second place in the overall market following its involvement in the aforementioned education project in Ethiopia. Huawei lost some share, while Apple and TCL both reported notable gains.

It should be noted that HP, Lenovo, and Dell 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.

"A slowdown in government initiatives and commercial projects, as well as weak-to-modest consumer spending, will ensure the region's PCD market closes 2017 with a significant overall decline," says Charakla. "However, a number of very large education projects are anticipated for the UAE, Pakistan, and Ethiopia, and these will act as short-term drivers of demand, helping to cushion the fall in coming quarters.

"Looking further ahead, PCD shipments overall are expected to continue declining over the next few years as users continue to shift from one PCD category to another and increasingly embrace technologies beyond the PCD market, such as smartphones. The impact of these developments will be most notable in the slate tablet market, with IDC expecting this category to suffer the region's most severe volume declines in the years leading up to 2021."

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.

IDC in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey

For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey currently fields over 130 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region.

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