Brand names lead Gulf PC market

While the Middle East is usually categorised as pre-dominantly a white-box region, brand-name vendors now dominate the PC market in the Gulf states.

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By  Peter Branton Published  November 9, 2004

While the Middle East is usually categorised as pre-dominantly a white-box region, brand-name vendors now dominate the PC market in the Gulf states. Last year’s top five PC vendors in the region were all international names, and brand-name manufacturers accounted for more than 71% of unit shipments and more than 75% of the value of shipments in 2003, according to research house IDC. “Local assemblers have suffered from stepped up efforts by international players to obtain and keep customers,” said Omar Shihab, analyst for IDC CEMA’s Systems Group. “Name-brand vendors have built on their brand awareness and have started offering services local assemblers are generally not equipped to match.” In 2003, HP took top honours in the Gulf, followed by Dell, with Acer coming in third. Desktops continue to dominate the Gulf PC market, accounting for more than 67% of PC shipments last year, although IDC expects the figure for this year to be smaller with notebooks proving to be the fastest growing form factor. “Mobility is getting hot in the Gulf states,” said 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.” Overall, PC shipments in the Gulf rose 13.8% in 2003, with growth of 32% expected this year by IDC, as continuing government reforms and private sector initiatives drive the market. Unsurprisingly, with the largest population in the region, Saudi Arabia is continuing to dominate PC shipments, although the UAE is a close second, despite its much smaller population. Together these two countries accounted for almost three quarters of PC shipments in 2003 and will continue to dominate this year, IDC believes.

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