Regional PC shipments surge

According to a new IDC study, the demand for portables, shipments of PCs rose 13.8% in volume and 8.7% in value last year in the Gulf States. Shipments are expected to jump by more than 32% this year as various e-government and e-business initiatives help drive the sale of hardware.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  November 7, 2004

Led by a surge in demand for portables, shipments of personal computers rose 13.8% in volume and 8.7% in value last year in the Gulf States (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE). According to a new IDC study, shipments are expected to jump by more than 32% this year as continuing government reforms and various e-government and e-business initiatives help drive the sale of hardware. In terms of value, falling prices will be partially offset by a shift to portables and higher-speed desktops, resulting in an expected rise of more than 25% in 2004. IDC’s Gulf States Personal Computing Forecast 2004-2008 vendor shares is based on information gathered from interviews with IT vendors, distributors, assemblers, system integrators, value-added resellers, and dealers in the regional market. The 110-page report says Saudi Arabia also represented the largest market for PCs in 2003 and will again in 2004. With less than a tenth of Saudi Arabia’s population, the UAE was close behind in second, reflecting the success of Dubai as a business hub and large projects in the government, financial, and oil and gas sectors. Together, these two countries accounted for almost three quarters of PC shipment volume in 2003 and will continue to dominate in 2004 estimates IDC. “The elimination of customs duties within the GCC should help spur the country markets across the board,” says Omar Shihab, analyst, IDC CEMA’s (Central Europe, Middle East & Africa) Systems Group. “Moreover, strong economic growth and the high price of oil will fuel the acquisition of hardware needed to bring IT levels up to international standards at both public and private organisations.” Desktops continued to dominate the Gulf PC market, accounting for more than 67% of PC shipments in 2003. The research firm expects the form factor to again dominate in 2004, though it will lose a few points of share to portables, which will remain the fastest growing form factor over the next few years. By contrast, x86 servers (Intel-AMD) are expected to hold steady in terms of market share. “Mobility is getting hot in the Gulf states,” says Shihab. “Not only are prices falling for portable PCs, but mobile phones are increasingly common; and both small and medium-sized organisations as well as large businesses are investing in portables both for the space saved and for the flexibility they afford. Nevertheless, shipments of all three form factors are expected to expand over the next few years.” More than 20 multi-national brand players such as IBM, HP, Dell, Acer dominated the PC market of the Gulf last year. Capturing all of the top five spots, international vendors accounted for more than 71% of unit shipments and more than 75% of the value of shipments in 2003. HP took top honours, with Dell coming in second, and Acer third. “Local assemblers have suffered from stepped up efforts by international players to obtain and keep customers. Name-brand vendors have built on their brand awareness and have started offering services local assemblers are generally not equipped to match,” adds Shihab.

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