MEA tablet market records first year-over-year decline
IDC attributes regional slowdown to sharp shipment decline in Turkey
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region's tablet market recorded its first ever year-on-year decline in the last quarter, despite years of successive gains, according to the latest report from IDC.
In the first quarter of 2015, tablet shipments in the region reached 3.83m units - a decline of 5.8% compared to the same period last year. IDC blamed the poor performance on a sharp decline in the region's biggest tablet market, Turkey, where shipments halved compared to the year-ago quarter.
"The major reason behind the decline of the Turkish market was the discontinuation of deliveries for the massive FATIH education project, which had a huge impact on commercial demand for tablets in the country during Q1," said Fouad Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC.
"Currency fluctuations in Turkey, high inventory levels carried over from Q4 2014, and some saturation in the tablet market also had a negative impact on shipments targeted at the consumer segment."
These three factors also applied in other key parts of the MEA region, IDC said. The research house added that the devaluation of major currencies like the euro and the ruble negatively impacted MEA tablet demand as a result of reduced international trade and tourism.
In terms of vendor share, Samsung led the MEA tablet market in shipments, though it still suffered a year-over-year decline of 5.5%, shipping 920,000 units in Q1. Lenovo had a better first quarter, growing 96.4% year-on-year to 520,000 units shipped, overtaking Apple to become the number-two tablet vendor in the process.
Apple, meanwhile, posted a sharp decline of 43% to 430,000 units sold. Huawei, like Lenovo, had a strong start to the year, and was the fastest-growing major tablet vendor in the MEA region. It shipped 240,000 units, posting year-on-year growth of 280.3%. Turkish vendor Casper rounded off the top five with shipments of 150,000 units, which gave it year-on-year growth of 131.2%.
Despite the doom and gloom, however, IDC said that the remainder of 2015 was likely to yield positive growth for the MEA tablet market. The research house predicted that the whole year would see year-over-year growth of 5.8% to total 17.66m units. That said, IDC noted that this would still represent a major slowdown from the overall growth of 41.6% seen in 2014.
"The reduction in global oil prices has caused a slowdown in government-driven initiatives in some of the region's oil-producing countries, negatively impacting demand for tablet devices," said Charakla.
"The decline in government spending has also had a ripple effect on other sectors across the region, and has also impacted demand from the consumer segment."