The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices market dropped 5.3% year-on-year in Q1 2018.
According to IDC, PCD market, which includes desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, suffered its lowest quarterly volume in six years, with total shipments of just 5.7 million units in the first quarter.
The analyst company blamed the decline on slowing sales of tablets as the form factor loses popularity. At the same time, both notebooks and desktops recorded year-on-year growth in the quarter.
"The overall market decline stemmed from falling demand for tablets," said Fouad Charakla, IDC's senior research manager for client devices across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. "These devices are falling out of favour across the region."
There was a considerable year-on-year decline in PCD shipments to the UAE in Q1 2018, where a significant slowdown in consumer demand was witnessed, in line with IDC's expectations. "The country had a slow start to the year owing to the introduction of 5% VAT, while April's edition of the renowned IT and consumer electronics sales event, GITEX Shopper, was cancelled," said Charakla. "However, this decision was well received by the PCD vendor and channel community as it enables them to focus their efforts on the October edition of this event."
Another area of positivity is gaming PCs, which continue to act as a driver for the MEA region's overall PCD market. "The higher-than-average price points and profit margins associated with gaming PCs is maintaining strong interest among market players in these devices," added Charakla.
"The sharpest decline in consumer demand in Q2 2018 is expected in the ‘Rest of Middle East' sub-region, where recently re-imposed US sanctions against Iran have weakened the country's exchange rate. Consumer demand in Turkey, the region's largest single market, will also decline considerably due to the uncertainty and instability surrounding the upcoming elections in June. Turkey's currency has also weakened to new lows against the U.S. dollar, making personal computing devices costlier for home users."
In more positive news, a number of large education deals, primarily for notebooks, are expected to be delivered in Pakistan, the UAE, and Qatar over the course of the year. However, in the longer term, IDC expects the MEA PCD market to continue shrinking in shipment terms, with slate tablets declining the most rapidly of all the various PCD products.
Looking at the PC market in isolation, all the top five vendors maintained their respective positions in terms of market share when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017. HP is the market leader with 26.9%, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Asus and Acer in that order. HP Inc. achieved significant growth in terms of market share to maintain its lead by a significant margin.
In the tablet sector, Samsung strengthened its lead, while Lenovo moved into second place over Apple and Huawei, with i-Life completing the top five.