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MEA PC shipments maintain growth momentum

Tumbling oil prices, political uncertainties expected to weigh down on growth over 2015 though.

Charakla notes that mid- to large-scale education deliveries took place across the region in Q4 2014
Charakla notes that mid- to large-scale education deliveries took place across the region in Q4 2014

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) PC market posted its third successive quarter of year-on-year growth in Q4 2014, continuing its recovery from the seven consecutive quarterly declines it experienced leading up to Q2 2014, IDC data shows.

In its recent report, portable PC shipments grew 4.3% year on year in Q4 2014 to reach 2.83 million units, while desktop shipments experienced much flatter growth of 0.4% over the same period to total 1.8 million units. This growth was aided by a recovery from the instability that plagued parts of the region in the corresponding quarter of 2013, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the ‘Rest of Middle East’ sub-region, where the bulk of PC shipments can be attributed to Iraq and Iran.

“The market’s growth was also spurred by several mid- to large-scale education deliveries that took place across the region in Q4 2014, with the largest being in Pakistan,” says Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. “One of the biggest surprises of the quarter came from Turkey, where PC vendors shipped significantly higher quantities than a year earlier in fear of anticipated changes to import duties from the start of 2015. However, the consequence of this was that channels exited the quarter with high levels of inventory, which will inevitably have a negative impact on shipment volumes in Q1 2015.”

The top three vendor rankings in terms of PC market share remained unchanged for the sixth consecutive quarter. HP retained top spot, recording strong year-on-year growth of 17.3%. The vendor maintains a notably stronger presence in Africa than the market’s other key players. Second-placed Lenovo once again posted the strongest year-on-year growth, with shipments up an impressive 38.2% for Q4 2014. Dell lost some ground in third position, suffering a year-on-year decline of 0.8%. Asus ranked fourth, posting growth of 6.9%, while Acer ranked fifth, with a decline of 5.8%. Combined, the top three vendors accounted for more than 65.0% share of the commercial demand seen in Q4 2014.

Looking ahead, IDC expects the MEA PC market to suffer an overall decline of 3.9% year on year in 2015, with a total of 17.48 million units to be shipped over the 12-month period. Some country markets are expected to suffer in early 2015 due to currency fluctuations, including Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Nigeria. “At the same time, the market’s performance will be hindered by uncertainty over the outcome of general elections in both Nigeria and Turkey,” says Charakla. “And the recent rapid decline in global oil and gas prices will have an impact on almost all parts of the region, although the extent of this will vary from country to country. Nigeria and Ghana are expected to suffer the most, with PC shipments to these countries set to shrink around 40% year on year in 2015.”

“In the longer term, IDC forecasts the PC market to remain almost flat from 2015 through to 2019,” continues Charakla. “However, the gradual shift of PC demand from consumers to the commercial segment is expected to gather pace. This is because a growing portion of home users will switch from PCs to tablets and smartphones, while commercial end users are expected to remain more loyal to the PC.”