Tablet demand pushes PCs to the edge

2014-03-20 14:11
The PC market has been hit hard. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The PC market has been hit hard. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Surging demand for tablets have contributed to additional decline in the PC market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that in the last three months of 2013, PC shipments to the region were hard hit by a 14.3% decline as consumers turned to mobile devices.

"End users in the MEA region continue to opt for enhanced mobility, shifting to sleeker, lighter and smaller devices with longer battery lives," said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

Shipment of portable PCs also declined by 18.2% for the year, and Charakla said this trend would continue as mobility became more important.

"Furthermore, even within the portable PC segment, there is a notable shift underway from traditional notebooks to convertible notebooks and ultra slim notebooks."

Touch screens

IDC said that the decline in SA was also a result of a weaker currency and high unemployment that further weakened the buying power for new PCs.

Winner among the losers is HP which secured lucrative deals to maintain its number one position in Africa, but Lenonvo experienced a bumper year to finish second on the continent, IDC said.

Dell, Toshiba, and Acer made up the top five and these companies all saw declines in their market share.

Charakla believes that touch screens will eventually become standard on PCs and operating systems like Windows 8 from Microsoft will gain traction.

"The share of PCs with touch interface also continues to grow, especially within the consumer segment."

However, data from StatCounter does not immediately support this view.

According to the industry tracker, Windows 8 has a 3.7% market share, way below both Windows 7 (55.2%) and XP (18.5%) as of February 2014.

It is likely though, that people buy PCs, the touch interface OS may become standard by virtue of customers' expectations from mobile devices.


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