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Middle East & Africa PC shipments slow in Q4

IDC says MEA PC market hit by tablet sales, no upswing from Windows 8 or Ultrabooks

Middle East & Africa PC shipments slow in Q4
PC shipments slipped 0.6% in MEA region in Q4 2012.

The PC market in Middle East and Africa slipped by 0.6% in Q4 2012, according to figures from IDC.

Shipments were down to 5.3 million in the quarter, mainly as consumers and commercial buyers turn away from desktop PCs and replace notebooks with tablet devices, which IDC counts as a separate category to PCs.

Desktop shipments for the region slowed 3.7% year-on-year to total 2 million units, while portable PC shipments grew 1.3% to reach 3.3 million units, the lowest growth rate of any quarter in 2012.

IDC said that increased sales of tablet devices undermined the mobile sector, with the mini-notebook sector showing rapid decline. Windows 8 and Ultrabooks have also failed to make a significant impact.

"A growing portion of home users are gaining confidence in tablet usage, further prolonging the refreshment cycle for portable PCs," said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a research manager at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. "Meanwhile, the failure of the ultra-slim notebook category to swiftly gain momentum as a result of prevailing high prices has combined with a soft response from the market to Microsoft's newly launched Windows 8 operating system to further compound the slowdown."

By market, shipments in both the UAE and Saudi due to tablet sales, with Saudi showing a steep decline. Turkey was the only big market in the region to attain strong growth, as vendors aggressively shipped into the country. This caused PC inventory levels among Turkey channels to rise significantly, enabling Turkey to reacquire its position as the biggest PC market in the region.

HP held the lead in MEA shipments, after recovering from a drastic slowdown in Q3 shipments. Dell maintained its number two position, while Lenovo was third. Acer passed Toshiba, to take fourth and fifth place respectively.

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