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Fri 21 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Middle East PC shipments soar

IDC reports that mobile form factor again proved the most dynamic in the PC markets of Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEA) in Q1 2004, with the region witnessing total sales volume grow 38% year-on-year and notebook sales expand by more than 15%.

The mobile form factor again proved the most dynamic in the PC markets of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa in Q1 2004 reports IDC. When broken down by region, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) proved more dynamic than Central and Eastern Europe. Not only did total sales volume grow by 38% YoY (year on year) in MEA, they also expanded by a positive 3.3% quarter-on-quarter, with the portable form factor expanding by more than 15%.

Also in Q1 2004, for the first time, portables accounted for more than 25% of PC shipments in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) region. Their popularity helped keep value growth at a sturdy 41.6% YoY by offsetting the falling price of desktops. Nevertheless, desktops continued to dominate the market in Q1, accounting for almost 82% of volume in Q1, with x86 servers accounting for the rest.

“International vendors still outsell local assemblers, even though they locals sell desktops for less. Also, security concerns at large corporations and lower prices mean the form factor will probably stay dominant for the next few years. Nevertheless, this won't stop portables from claiming more and more market share,” says Tomas Oupicky, research analyst, IDC CEMA’s Systems Group.

While total PC sales were up nearly 33% in volume year-on-year, sales of portables doubled across the region, according to IDC’s first quarter (Q1’04) PC tracker. By contrast, the PC market contracted by nearly 30% quarter-on-quarter in CEE, with the portable form factor shrinking by more than 6%.

“The fourth quarter is usually one of the heaviest for PC purchases as companies try to spend out their budgets before the end of the fiscal year, especially in Europe," says Oupicky. “This often results in lower, and sometimes negative growth quarter by quarter. Although some of the individual country markets have reached maturity, on the whole, the regions are far from saturated, and we expect growth to bounce back next quarter in both regions,” he adds.

Global PC vendors such as Dell and others have reported product shipments to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) jump by more than 30% for the first quarter of this year. In its local forecast, IDC predicts 23% growth in the total volume of PC sales for 2004m with notebook sales recording 134% in Saudi Arabia and 176% in the UAE. PC sales will notch 19% and 30% respectively, in the two largest markets in the Middle East.

Gartner, in a recent forecast cited that worldwide PC shipments totaled 45.3 million units in the first quarter of 2004, a 13.4% increase from the same period last year, driven largely by the business segment. The growth rates ranged from 17% PC shipment growth in EMEA to single digit growth rates of 6% in saturated markets such as Japan.

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