Middle East market helps EMEA PC sector to new high

Solid growth in the Middle East notebook channel made a notable contribution to the overall EMEA PC market expanding 10% year-on-year to 24.6 million units during the fourth quarter of 2006.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  January 23, 2007

Solid growth in the Middle East notebook channel made a notable contribution to the overall EMEA PC market expanding 10% year-on-year to 24.6 million units during the fourth quarter of 2006. Although the Central and Eastern European took all the plaudits after enjoying a 60% rise in annual notebook growth, the Middle East achieved an equally impressive 50% increase in sales. Continued portable adoption and healthy consumer sales — not to mention fast-paced growth in the region’s emerging markers — all played a key part in the fourth quarter performance, according to research house IDC. “This year has clearly marked, through the accelerated development of the notebook market, the importance of effective and time-to-market product strategies and the need for vendors to develop stronger branding strategies,” said Karine Paoli, research director for IDC’s EMEA Personal Computing group. She added: “Competitive pricing and the ability to promote technology replacement cycles effectively will remain essential to drive demand and market share, but branding and customer segmentation will become increasingly important as the market continues to expand and include a larger renewal base.” Demand for notebooks continued unabated in the consumer space during the festive quarter, fuelled by the uptake of dual-core processors, active marketing campaigns and attractive price points in the mainstream 15.4-inch segment. Larger models, such as those in the 17-inch segment, also proved popular. However, the 28% jump in notebooks came at the expense of consumer desktop sales, which failed to display a return to positive growth in Western Europe. “The consumer desktop market should benefit from the migrations to Vista in 2007, but a revived interest in deskbound platforms will very much depend on the vendors' and the channel’s ability to promote the next digital entertainment generation of consumer PCs,” said Elsa Opitz, research manager for IDC’s EMEA PC Tracker. On the commercial side, slow demand overall hindered the vendors’ performances — particularly in the desktop space — while commercial notebook sales continued to display healthier patterns, driven by strong desktop replacement trends still evident in the SMB space and increasing demand for portable PCs in the corporate space. “While 2007 will benefit from an uptake of corporate refresh cycles expected to start mid-2007 and peak in 2008, migrations to Vista in the consumer and SMB space, along with continued portable adoption across the region, and an increasing renewal market, will also continue to represent key market opportunities and assist EMEA growth moving forward,” predicted Paoli. Slow commercial demand had a negative impact on growth for Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, and Lenovo, but HP and Acer saw their strength in the consumer and SMB markets capture share, with Acer elbowing Dell out of the number two spot in the region during the fourth quarter. Toshiba also enjoyed a healthy quarter as a 29% rise in shipments saw it close the gap on fourth placed FSC — the only top-five PC manufacturer that failed to achieve year-on-year growth. HP, meanwhile, extended its lead as the number one vendor in EMEA after shipping 4.5 million units. The US-based firm now controls 18% of the EMEA market. According to IDC, the increase in overall PC sales during the fourth quarter ensured the EMEA grew 11% year-on-year to 75 million PCs during full-year 2006.

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