PC shipments in the Arab Middle East reached 678,651 units in the first half of 2003, up 13 percent year-on-year. Growth came from all form factors, most notably within the notebook PC segment, which expanded by more than 66 percent in the first half of 2003, reported IDC.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), IDC's latest data on the first half of the year's shipments indicate that PC sales grew 15 percent year-on-year, to reach 112,500 units. "The rapid conclusion of the conflict in Iraq was a positive sign for the UAE's economy, as a protracted conflict would have threatened regional stability," commented Research Analyst, IDC Middle East and North Africa, Omar Shihab. Most of PC shipment growth came from the PC
Server segment as it expanded by almost 57.3 percent due mainly to the aggressive targeting of low-end servers towards the SMB segment by most vendors.
The notebook market also witnessed noticeable growth, as it increased by almost 31.3 percent year-on-year. IDC detects demand for mobile computing has been assisted by continual price declines, the increased shift away from traditional desktop computing and the emergence of new technologies such as Intel's Centrino solution. The Desktop market also witnessed an expansion of almost 11 percent year-on-year driven by both first-time purchases and renewals across all market segments.
Although the fast end to the war helped the economic stability in the Kingdom to recover, the Riyadh bombings forced instability back in Saudi Arabia again. "The effect was mainly seen in the tourism sector, however, overall spending on PCs remained strong as several government and large business deals were completed," said Shihab.
The Saudi PC market exhibited a decline in the first half shipments of around eight percent year-on-year. This was mainly due to the end of last year's projects carried out by HP and Dell for the Ministry of education. The drop came solely from desktops, and witnessed a decline in shipments of 22 percent year-on-year.
Servers noted an increase of 39.4 percent year-on-year thanks mainly to large project implementations carried out for Saudi Aramco, as well as, ongoing replacement cycles for several customers in the country during the first quarter of the year. "Aggressive pricing strategies provided considerable momentum to the already booming consumer notebook market. Consumer notebook shipments have grown by an impressive 71% year on year," said Shihab.
In other markets within the Gulf, IDC's latest research indicates increased interest by vendors in countries like Kuwait and Bahrain. In addition to the rapid conclusion of the conflict in Iraq, slightly higher than expected growth in oil output in the first quarter of the year among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries also played a role in maintaining economic steadiness and boost PC sales across the countries.
IDC results for the first half of the year indicate that shipments in Kuwait reached around 31,000 units. Large implementations of PCs were carried out for the Government and Education sectors within the state. Bahrain had a booming fist half, with shipments adding up to almost 21,000 units. The Kingdom witnessed huge shipments of notebooks with replacements expected within the Government and a number of large enterprises.
A similar scenario has been observed in the Omani market as 35 percent of the Sultanate's 18,000 PCs shipped during the first half were notebook shipments. Mobile replacements in Oman are expected within the education sector. Qatar's market on the other hand reached a total of 16,700 units in the first half of 2003.
IDC asserts that the war in Iraq had a minimal effect on PC shipments during the first half of 2003. "The outlook for the Middle East PC market continues to be encouraging, despite a gradual decline in consumer sales at the end of the second quarter," said Shihab. The typically quiet summer season will be followed by busy back-to-school sales in the second half of the third quarter, when we expect vendors to resume their marketing tactics in order to stimulate consumer demand.
PC Replacements within the large business and SMB segment are still expected to occur in the second half of the year, as such decisions were delayed with the instability of the war during the first half. "Demand is expected to make up for the slight effect that the war had," Shihab added. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )