East African PC shipments fall 10.8% in 2014

Computing

PC shipments to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia totalled 657,472 units in 2014, according to preliminary figures from International Data Corporation. IDC said this is a decline of 10.8 percent from the 736,869 units recorded in 2013. The decision to end production of cheap mini-notebooks pushed the overall numbers down, says James Mutua, a research analyst at IDC East Africa.

Compounding the departure of these popular devices was the fact that no obvious replacement product was immediately available. There is a clear need for a product that occupies the entry-level segment of the market, and it is yet to be seen whether Chromebooks or any other low-priced laptops will successfully take their place.

The commercial segment of the East African market experienced a 9.3 percent downturn in purchases year on year, with shipments of portable PCs suffering a huge decline as a result of weak demand from small and medium-sized businesses. Notebook shipments were also hit by the delay or postponement of various education projects by national governments. However, shipments of desktop PCs to the commercial segment recorded positive growth in 2014 as upgraded their PCs after Microsoft terminated support for Windows XP in the first half of the year.

In the consumer segment, overall shipments slowed 12.5 percent year on year. Growth in the traditional desktop space flattened, and demand for portable PCs declined as a result of stiff competition from cheap tablet devices. IDC expects all-in-one and small-form-factor desktop PCs to gain traction over the coming years.

On a country level, Ethiopia posted strong overall year-on-year growth of 20.6 percent in 2014. This performance represented the high point in the region, with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda posting declines of 15 percent, 19.7 percent and 12.1 percent respectively.

Source: Telecompaper 4 March 2015