Samsung abandons laptops in SA

2014-05-08 08:49
Windows 8 is seen on a Samsung hybrid device. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Windows 8 is seen on a Samsung hybrid device. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Samsung has announced that it will no longer supply laptops in South Africa due to a shift in consumer demand.

"Samsung has announced that due to a shift in consumer trends, it will no longer be supplying notebooks in the South African region, effective April 2014. The decision was taken as the company has moved its focus toward solutions that are aligned with the evolution of the technology market and the changing end user demands," the electronics giant announced.

According to data from research organisation the IDC, the notebook market in SA declined by 18.8%, mirroring a massive 31.6% in East Africa.

"Huge volumes of low-cost mini notebooks were shipped to East Africa during the corresponding period of 2013, and these devices are no longer in production," said James Mutua, a research analyst at IDC East Africa.

The company added that the change was indicative of a number of factors.

New strategy

"The disappearance of mini notebooks from the market combined with the impact of VAT, inventory issues, shifts in vendor strategies, and channel realignment initiatives to negatively impact the buoyancy of East Africa's PC shipments in Q1 2014," said Mutua.

Most research indicates that particularly in developing countries like SA, consumers are shifting to smart mobile devices like tablets at the expense of traditional PCs.

Samsung said that its new strategy was more focused on its tablet offerings.

"Changes in the mobile market offer us the opportunity refine our product offering. Samsung is well positioned to deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of South Africans, with tablet devices such as the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 inch," said Craige Fleischer, director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics South Africa.


Samsung is shifting its focus to tablets in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

While Samsung has a wide range of tablets, it has not been able to offer them at a price point of R1 000.

In SA, the cheapest Android tablet is the Proline R718DC with an 18cm display that retails for around R900, though it's significantly underpowered compared to Samsung tablets.

Growth

Research from Gartner indicated that while Android tablets were on a massive growth trajectory, hardware vendors had to focus on customer experience to build brand loyalty.

"As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditised, in 2014, it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value - beyond just hardware and cost - to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

Gartner's research also showed that tablet growth was concentrated in developing countries with a 145% increase, compared to 31% in developed economies.


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