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IDC: MEA tablet market sees decline

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market declined 24.2 percent year on year (Y-o-Y) in the final quarter of 2016 to total 3.07 million units, according to the latest figures announced today by International Data Corporation (IDC).

According to IDC’s Middle East and Africa Quarterly Tablet Tracker, for 2016 as a whole, tablet shipments in MEA declined 14.7 percent Y-o-Y to total 13.8 million units, which is in line with global tablet market’s 15.6 percent decline over the same period.

“Tasks that were previously performed on tablets are increasingly moving to bigger-screen smartphones, so tablets are becoming redundant in the consumer ecosystem of gadgets,” says Nakul Dogra, Senior Research Analyst for Client devices, IDC MEA. “Indeed, consumers are now investing more time and money into smartphones than tablets, which has led to a slowdown of tablet markets around the world, not just here in MEA. That said, there are still countries in Africa that harbor scope for further tablet penetration.”

In terms of vendor rankings, Samsung continued to lead the MEA tablet market in Q4 2016 with unit share of 17.6 percnet, despite experiencing a significant decline in shipments of -28.0 percent on the previous quarter and -43.6 percent on the corresponding period of 2015. Lenovo increased its share to 10.8 percent from 9.9 percent in Q4 2015. Apple climbed into third spot, capturing 8.7 percent share despite suffering a -41.2 percent Y-on-Y decline in shipments. UAE-based vendor i-Life rose to fourth in the rankings with a market share of 7.4 percent, spurred by the popularity of its low-cost offerings. Huawei’s shipments fell -39.6 percent Y-on-Y in Q4 2016 to account for market share of just 5.1 percent, a considerable drop from its 13.5 percent share in the previous quarter.

Taking the above factors into account, IDC’s tablet market forecast has been revised downwards. IDC now expects the market to decline -8.1 percent Y-on-Y in 2017 to total 12.76 million units. “e-Tailers are expected to grow strongly in the coming years,” said Dogra. “Increasingly, local retailers are investing more in the online channel. Also, newer players are expected to enter the market in the coming year, which is going to further intensify competition in the online retail segment. The above factors, coupled with aggressive pricing, will further drive the growth of the e-tailer segment, with IDC expecting that by the year 2021, 12 percent of tablets will be sold through e-tailers in the MEA region.”

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