Cannibalisation of tablet computers is again going to make a big dent in computer (portable and desktop) sales in the UAE in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, 599,445 computers are expected to be shipped into the UAE, registering a fall of 19.7 per cent year-on-year compared to 746,462 units in the second quarter of last year.
“We have revised our forecast for the year due to the weak demand. The market is expected to decline for the first three quarters of the year and only a marginal increase of one per cent is expected in the fourth quarter,” Fouad R. Charakla, research manager at IDC, told Gulf News.
He said portable PCs will decline for all the four quarters while desktops will grow marginally. One of the main reasons for the fall in portable PC sales is the steep fall in mini-notebook sales of over 100,000 units for the year 2013.
Portable PCs are projected to fall by 16 per cent for the year when compared to last year and desktops by five per cent.
“The market is in a state of flux. It does not know which direction to go. There are too many products and technologies and the consumers are confused. You have the traditional notebooks, ultrathin notebooks, detachable notebooks and low-cost computers,” said Santosh Varghese, regional general manager of computer systems division at Toshiba Gulf.
After all the social and political situations in the region settle down a bit, “we will see a clear direction in which way the market will go. From Toshiba’s point of view, we see detachable and ultrathin notebook models will fuel demand,” he said.
But according to Salim Ziade, General Manager of Personal Systems Group (PSG) at the HP Middle East, commercial side of the PC market is witnessing a demand due to the upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and in the consumer side, a transformation of business is taking place due to the different form factors like tablets and hybrids.
“We are seeing a strong demand for touch screen notebooks and the hybrids. All-in-one computers are doing well in the region and that is growing in double digits year-on-year,” Ziade said.
In the first quarter, the UAE market registered a fall of 16.8 per cent to 656,446 units compared to 788,997 units during the same period last year.
“Healthy demand from commercial end-users is expected to keep demand for desktops growing,” IDC said.
The demand for ultra-slim notebooks is expected to grow to more than 74,000 units for the second quarter compared to more than 60,000 units in the first quarter.
“The demand for mini-notebooks has been cannibalised by low-cost tablets,” he said.
According to IDC’s projections, the UAE market is set to witness a fall of more than 13 per cent to 2.46 million units this year compared to 2.84 million for 2012.
Varghese said that there is no replacement market happening now. If consumers want a second device, they opt for a tablet. From next quarter, touch screen notebooks will become popular coupled with falling prices and it will go in line with Windows 8.
“Most of the consumers in the region, especially Jordan and Lebanon, do not want Windows 8 and keep asking Windows 7. We are forced to sell with Linux operating system and it is still in demand.
Frankly speaking, people are not bothered by the speed of the CPU and the processing power as it a few years back, thanks to the tablet technology. They are bothered about the user experience and added features which will make them more user friendly,” he said.