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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IDC rates East Africa PC market high in Q1

The global provider of market intelligence and advisory services for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has said that the Personal Computers (PC) market in East Africa has strongly expanded in the first quarter of 2011.

Although, the worldwide PC market contracted and the pan-African market almost stagnated, IDC report said by market research, the global PC shipments declined by 3.2 per cent year-on-year during the first three months of 2011.

“The overall African PC market grew a marginal 1 per cent, East Africa (including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Uganda) recorded a massive 76 per cent growth in PC shipments,” part of the report said.

IDC expects that the East African PC market would further grow by about 35–45 per cent in 2011 before cooling off in 2012.

The growth in Q1 2011, IDC noted, was fueled primarily by a healthy demand for notebooks, with Kenya showing the highest uptake. This quarter was a continuation of the dynamic development in 2010, supported by the resumption of commercial demand and strong advertising and promotion efforts by vendors, as well as their efforts to find new distribution channels and strengthen existing ones.

“This helped to stymie unofficial (gray market) shipments,” he said.

IDC reports that consumer demand was dynamic in 2010 but relaxed in Q1 2011, due to a combination of factors that affected price levels, including unfavorable foreign exchange rates and inflationary pressures.

In addition, competition between vendors caused consumer pricing to plateau, and thus prevented sellers from stimulating demand around attractive price points.

IDC analyst in Kenya, Nairobi, Mr. Stanley Kamanguya said that they are have continued to see increased interest in the region from international investors, especially with Kenya’s new constitution, which is hoped to be fully implemented after the next general elections, just as Uganda’s oil discovery, and the formation of the East African Community (EAC) market.

The East Africa, he said, have a combined population of over 130 million, and investors are looking at the region as the next frontier of growth, with Kenya as the hub.

“Political risk will remain a key issue for investors, however. The extent of consequences of events in North Africa and the Middle East remains unclear, which will affect the market in the short term,” he said.

Going forward, he pointed out that vendors will not rely on pricing or hardware specifications for a competitive edge, but rather on their ability to engage in demand-creation programs, mobilize channels, and articulate a message that their products will provide an unmatched user experience.

On the vendor outlook, IDC said that Hewlett Packard (HP) maintained its top position on the East Africa PC market, with shipment growth of 46 per cent year-on-year, supported by strong commercial demand and improved run-rates during Q1 2011.

“The vendor remained very strong in the Kenya market but continued to struggle in Ethiopia and Uganda,” part of the report read.

Equally, IDC said that Dell came a close second in Q1, with more than 600 per cent year-on-year
growth, after an aggressive channel recruitment and revamped drive from mid-2010.

Dell, the report added, has continued to benefit more than other vendors from the shift from the gray market to official channels, especially in Ethiopia and Uganda, where desktop sales increased significantly.

Whereas, IDC said, Acer was third in East Africa in Q1, with 200 per cent year-on-year growth, mainly thanks to deals in the telecommunications space. This channel is expected to continue growing as telcos explore data services to supplement dwindling voice revenues.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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