MEA tablet market declines despite shift towards detachable devices; IDC
Research shows the Middle East and Africa tablet market declined year-on-year in Q1 2016
The International Data Corporation revealed that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market has decline year-on-year by 12.3% in the first quarter of 2016 to a total of 3.32m units.
The global research and consulting services firm's 'Middle East and Africa Quarterly Tablet Tracker' indicates that the MEA tablet market contracted on a year-on-year basis for the second quarter in a row, following the 8.8% year-on-year decline seen in Q4 2015.
"We are finding that consumers are increasingly reluctant to replace their existing devices as the majority of tasks that were previously performed on tablets have now shifted to smartphones with larger screens," said Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. "This reluctance has resulted in a lengthening of tablet replacement cycles, a phenomenon that has inevitably had a negative impact on overall demand.
"Compounding the issue is the fact that consumer sentiment and business activity are both being hampered by low crude oil prices, particularly in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Meanwhile, the continued depreciation of key African currencies against the U.S. dollar - including the Nigerian naira, the South African rand, and the Egyptian pound - has also acted as an inhibitor, as poor exchange rates make tablets more expensive."
With this said, detachable tablets are steadily gaining popularity in the region due to the release of new devices. Detachable tablets are now accountable for 4.2% share of the overall market, with shipments up by 35% year-on-year in Q1 2016.
Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a senior research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC added: "All vendors are feeling the pinch from the slowdown, considering the thin margins on the lower-end products that account for the bulk of demand, vendors are unwilling to offer any further support to channels, leading to a decline in shipments across the region. As certain entry-level tablet models are available at price points below $50, key players are under intense pressure to maintain their sell outs."
In terms of vendor rankings, Samsung continued to lead the market in Q1 2016 with 21.2% share, despite suffering a year-on-year decline in shipments of 23.3%. After a sluggish performance in Q4 2015, Lenovo retook second place with 12.3% share, despite posting a 21.7% year-on-year decline in shipments. Apple rounded out the top three with 11.5% share after posting an 11.0% decline in shipments.
IDC has revised its forecast for the 2016 MEA tablet market downwards and now expects a total of 14.9m units to be shipped in the year, representing a year-on-year decline of 7.9%. The Windows operating system is expected to register healthy growth during the year in line with the growth in detachable devices. IDC expects shipments of detachable tablets, the bulk of which run on Windows, to grow 127.7% year on year in 2016.