A total 3.45 million PC tablets were shipped into the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 111 per cent year-on-year, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
“This massive growth was mainly driven by the home segment, with numerous end-of-year promotions taking place in most countries across the region,” said Adriana Rangel, research director for systems and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
“The corporate segment also witnessed a steady increase in volume, with major deals seen in all countries, particularly within the education sector.”
Samsung remained the market leader in Q4 2013, despite a quarter-on-quarter decline to 742,000 units. Apple followed with 653,000 units, while Lenovo came third, recording a total of 289,000 units. Asus and Huawei rounded off the top five.
Overall the report also found that the Android operating system was the most popular in the region, with 2.8 million units shipped during Q4, up 16 per cent compared to Q3 2013.
Apple’s iOS declined during the same period, since the new iPad mini with retina display and the iPad Air “did not take off as well as expected,” said IDC.
Windows OS also dropped, posting a double-digit quarterly decline as vendors focused more on Android-based tablets.
“As the traditional PC market is expected to decline further in 2014, the tablet market is expected to increase significantly, and not just proportionately,” said Victoria Mendes, research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
“Traditional PC vendors are likely to introduce hybrid devices that will look and function like tablets but will have a much higher performance output.”
To capitalise on the growing tablet market, telecom operators across the region have begun offering numerous benefits for tablet devices including reduced prices and installment payment plans, said IDC.
Rapidly rising competition among vendors is also expected to cause tablet prices to decline further over the coming quarters, it added.
“Shrinking margins will cause some vendors to rethink their strategies in order to either enhance their cost-effectiveness in an effort to remain competitive or enhance the value proposition of their products so as to maintain slightly higher prices.”