Not everything sells in UAE: poor profits for this IT item may make sales obsolete in near future

Not everything sells in UAE: poor profits for this IT item may make sales obsolete in near futureThe year 2013 was a disappointing year for personal computer sales in the UAE and 2014 is shaping up to be another bad year due to the strong growth in mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

Total PC shipments this year is expected to be 1.84 million units compared to 2.04 million units last year, registering a fall of 9.73 per cent.

“The overall market is expected to decline over the next four years. It is the same case for all key markets in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Africa,” Fouad R. Charakla, research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), said in an exclusive to Gulf News.

He said some of the desktop users are shifting to notebooks and notebook users are shifting to tablets, especially in the consumer segment while some users are not upgrading their machines and are instead spending more on smartphones. Smartphones and tablets are providing low-cost alternatives for many users.

“The PC market will be stagnant for the next couple of years but there will still be some business happening in the market. Around 300 million units are expected to be sold globally every year and that is still a sizeable market, said Santosh Varghese, General Manager for Toshiba Gulf.

However, he said that most of the PC business will take place on the notebooks segment but not the traditional notebooks. Form factors like convertibles and ultra-thin notebooks will gain more market share.

Toshiba will be launching its 4K ultra-thin notebooks next month. The price difference will be around $400 for 4K notebooks when compared to the Full HD notebooks with the same specs.

4K or ultra-high definition boasts a pixel format of 3840 x 2160 pixels, four times that of current 1920x1080p Full HD displays.

In 2013, 372,050 units of desktops and 1.66 million notebooks were sold in the UAE. This year, 357,998 units of desktops and 1.48 million notebooks are expected to be sold.

Consumers who used to access Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with their notebooks are now accessing it through smartphones. They are spending more time on their smartphones, which eventually justifies their increased spending on smartphones.

Fouad said that ultra-slim notebooks, two-in-one devices (tablet-laptop combo) and touch-enabled devices will grow slightly in the consumer segment this year.

In 2018, ultra-slim notebooks will overtake “traditional notebooks.”

The share of consumer segment is falling while the share of commercial segment is growing slightly. “More than 25 per cent of the notebooks in the UAE are re-exported,” Fouad said.

In the fourth quarter of last year, PC shipments fell eight per cent to 449,675 units compared to 488,642 units during the same period last year. Notebooks fell 10 per cent year on year while desktops remained flat.

The total market value was $304.80 million in the fourth quarter compared to $332.95 million during the same period last year, registering a fall of 8.45 per cent.

By Naushad K Cherrayil

UAE,  profits , IT item , sales, obsolete , near future