Middle East PC penetration still low

A study by Madar Research finds Middle East PC penetration levels lower than global average.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  January 22, 2006

The Middle East needs to purchase six million more personal computers to keep up with global PC sales figures as the level of PC penetration is much below the world average. Consumers are collectively purchasing only one third the number of the PCs they ought to have bought, states a comparative study by the Dubai-based Madar Research Group. Enhanced internet connectivity coupled with increased spending on PCs by the burgeoning small and medium enterprises and education sectors, is expected to usher in double-digit growth in PC sales across the 18 countries that make up the Middle East region, according to the study. This led to the Middle East registering PC sales of a low 3.12 million as against the world sales figure of 188.9 million units. The actual sales were also lower than the theoretical projected figures for the region both in terms of the PC sales to population ratio of 9.14 million units, and the GDP ratio of 3.62 million units at the end of 2004. “Though the current levels of PC penetration are poor, the growth forecast in regional PC sales is promising and holds huge potential for IT manufacturing and solutions providers,” says Nimer Al Attal, managing director, DTK Computer Middle East. The survey adds that similarly, the Middle East needs to buy 500,000 more PC units to come up to the world ratio of 472 PC unit sales for every US$100 million gross domestic product (GDP). Madar Research’s comparative survey covered the Levant group, including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt. The six GCC states of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain were also covered, as were the North African countries of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Sudan, and Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula. Except for the GCC states, which registered a higher number of 1.18 million PCs sold as against the global norm of 1.10 million, all other countries in the region had lower PC sales figures, with the Levant falling short by 2.7 million, North Africa by 1.7 million, and Sudan and Yemen showing a shortfall of 1.6 million units. On the population to PC sales count, only the GCC managed to rise above the global average, exceeding theoretical sales by a slim 0.08 million units. The Levant needed to purchase at least 2.4 million more PCs, North Africa another 1.71 million units and Sudan and Yemen had to buy 1.59 million units respectively, to achieve the global average.

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