African and Middle East PC sales fall off a cliff

Computing

PC shipments in Africa and the Middle East fell by 28,7% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2015, the steepest ever recorded in the region for a single quarter, technology research and consulting firm International Data Corp (IDC) said on Tuesday.

Shipments fell for the third consecutive quarter.

“In a shift from earlier quarters in the year when the decline in desktop shipments was notably less pronounced than the decline in notebooks, this time round both product categories declined at a similar pace,” IDC said in a statement alongside the latest numbers.

IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker shows that desktop shipments declined by 29,4% year on year in the fourth quarter of last year to total just 1,3m units, with notebook shipments falling by 28,2% over the same period to total 1,9m units.

The Middle East was mainly to blame for the slumping numbers. Reasons varied by country, but included high levels of political and economic instability and uncertainty, low oil prices, increasing security concerns and volatile currency fluctuations, said Fouad Charakla, senior research manager for personal computing, systems and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Hewlett-Packard maintained the top spot in terms of market share, despite experiencing a fall of 27,4% year on year, while second-placed Lenovo suffered a decline of 29,9%. Dell, on the other hand, escaped with a “mild decline” of 8,7%, IDC said. Dell performed better than its rivals as it had experienced a relatively slow quarter during the same period last year.

“Declining slightly slower than the overall market at 23,2% year on year, Asus overtook Acer to claim fourth position, while Acer experienced the fastest decline among the top vendors at 42,9% year on year,” IDC said in the statement.

A growing portion of end users are opting for refurbished PCs or upgrades, or are prolonging their refreshment cycles as they increasingly shift to mobile phones and tablets.

“As market sentiment remains low, IDC expects to see a delay in the recovery of PC demand,” said Charakla. “Overall, 2016 will experience a further decline on 2015, as growth is only expected to occur in the second half of the year.”

IDC expects a “slightly stronger recovery” in 2017, after which the region will continue to experience a period of slow growth over the longer term.

“As the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets will continue to inhibit demand for PCs, vendors and channels across the region are expected to plan and order cautiously so as to avoid being left with high inventory levels,” said Charakla.

A growing proportion of home users are switching from PCs to tablets and smartphones, while commercial end users maintain a greater loyalty to PCs. As a result, commercial demand for PCs in the region is expected to surpass that stemming from home users by next year, IDC said
Source: Techcentral 29 March 2016