PCs on the comeback trail

Laptop. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Laptop. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - Computers are making a comeback - and though it's early days - international research shows that PCs are slowly making gains.

According to data from the IDC, the PC market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) expanded by 2.1% to reach 4.26 million units.

"IDC data shows that desktop shipments to MEA increased 3.6% year on year in Q3 2014 to total 1.73 million units, while shipments of portable PCs were up 1.1% over the same period to total 2.53 million units," said the IDC.

The market is led by HP which posted gains of 14.4%, followed by Lenovo (58.2%) and Dell (23%).

"The market overcame ongoing instability in certain parts of the region to maintain its state of growth in Q3 2014," said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

Massive tablet market

He conceded that mobile smart device growth continued its dominant trend in the region, but a huge deal in Pakistan for 150 000 notebooks and the relative stability in Egypt led to growth for PCs.

IDC data shows that the tablet market expanded by 29.6% in volume terms during the quarter to reach a total of 4.15 million units.

"Indeed, an overall regional decline was only averted by the delivery of 150 000 notebooks into Pakistan's education sector and the return of relative calm to Egypt, which saw these two countries become by far the fastest growing markets during the quarter," said Charakla.

The PC had experienced a multiple quarter decline that was only reversed with gains in 2014, but the IDC expects the market to remain flat over the next five years.

But it's not all bad news as there are a number of countries in Africa with pent-up demand for PCs.

"However, a number of underpenetrated MEA markets - including Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, and some smaller African countries - will continue to experience growth, preventing the overall region from experiencing any significant declines," Charakla said.

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