PC sales fall off a cliff

PC shipments in Africa and the Middle East fell by 28,7% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2015, the steepest ever recorded in the region for a single quarter.

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PC shipments in Africa and the Middle East fell by 28,7% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2015, the steepest ever recorded in the region for a single quarter, technology research and consulting firm International Data Corp (IDC) said on Tuesday.

Shipments fell for the third consecutive quarter.

“In a shift from earlier quarters in the year when the decline in desktop shipments was notably less pronounced than the decline in notebooks, this time round both product categories declined at a similar pace,” IDC said in a statement alongside the latest numbers.

IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker shows that desktop shipments declined by 29,4% year on year in the fourth quarter of last year to total just 1,3m units, with notebook shipments falling by 28,2% over the same period to total 1,9m units.

The Middle East was mainly to blame for the slumping numbers. Reasons varied by country, but included high levels of political and economic instability and uncertainty, low oil prices, increasing security concerns and volatile currency fluctuations, said Fouad Charakla, senior research manager for personal computing, systems and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Hewlett-Packard maintained the top spot in terms of market share, despite experiencing a fall of 27,4% year on year, while second-placed Lenovo suffered a decline of 29,9%. Dell, on the other hand, escaped with a “mild decline” of 8,7%, IDC said. Dell performed better than its rivals as it had experienced a relatively slow quarter during the same period last year.

“Declining slightly slower than the overall market at 23,2% year on year, Asus overtook Acer to claim fourth position, while Acer experienced the fastest decline among the top vendors at 42,9% year on year,” IDC said in the statement.

A growing portion of end users are opting for refurbished PCs or upgrades, or are prolonging their refreshment cycles as they increasingly shift to mobile phones and tablets.

“As market sentiment remains low, IDC expects to see a delay in the recovery of PC demand,” said Charakla. “Overall, 2016 will experience a further decline on 2015, as growth is only expected to occur in the second half of the year.”

IDC expects a “slightly stronger recovery” in 2017, after which the region will continue to experience a period of slow growth over the longer term.

“As the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets will continue to inhibit demand for PCs, vendors and channels across the region are expected to plan and order cautiously so as to avoid being left with high inventory levels,” said Charakla.

A growing proportion of home users are switching from PCs to tablets and smartphones, while commercial end users maintain a greater loyalty to PCs. As a result, commercial demand for PCs in the region is expected to surpass that stemming from home users by next year, IDC said.  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media

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  • Greg Mahlknecht

    I question the “migration to tablet” line we keep hearing from everyone. Tablet sales are also declining at an accelerating rate. 4Q2016 worldwide, tablet sales were down 13% YoY, and PCs were down 10% in the same period.

    Computing devices of all shapes and forms have just become powerful enough to last for longer. There’s no giant mystery here, and no post-anything era.

  • Joe Black

    Our portion of the decline is definitely to do with the value of the rand predominantly. I can think of quite a few things which I am not really very willing to buy with the Rand at >12.5 to the dollar.

  • I agree and especially with desktops I have upgraded to a second monitor, added some RAM, and new hard drives. Just no reason to replace my desktop. I’ve replaced my Android tablet with a Macbook Air a bit over a year back.

  • Ferdi

    I also agree, and with laptops/notebooks and tablets also converging in form factor, who wants multiple computing devices and the trouble and data costs of keeping all of them conveniently “synced”?

  • gamesbook

    You mean >15 to the dollar – probably headed towards >20 Very Soon Now…

  • Joe Black

    Well it’s under R15 right this minute. R14.82.

    Since the Yellen speech highlighted that future interest rate growth in the US might be slower than expected or non-existent many currencies have had a nice little jump. For all we know it could be R13.50 in a week.

  • William Stucke

    Rather misleading headline. Should be: “PC and laptop sales fall off a cliff”

  • William Stucke

    So sorry, Gupta’s, AKA Sahara Computers …