In Apple's world of Ads, one of their main characters that promotes the iPad Pro doesn't even know what a PC is. Yet in the Middle East and African markets, the tide is turning away from tablets and back to PC's and 2-in-1 devices. And while the iPad Pro is considered a detachable device or a 2-in-1 device, Apple is simply not faring well in that particular market.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, declined 6.2% year on year in Q4 2017, according to the latest data from IDC. PCD shipments fell to around 5.9 million units for the three-month period, which represents the lowest quarterly volume recorded for more than five years.
Fouad Charakla, IDC's senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa stated in the report that "While the overall decline was almost exactly in line with forecasts, there was a stark difference between the individual product categories, with PC shipments growing healthily and tablet shipments declining faster than expected. Kenya suffered huge declines in its tablet market after a massive education project that boosted shipments in Q4 2016 was not repeated in Q4 2017."
While Apple had a banner holiday quarter firing on all cylinders, it's clear by IDC's chart below that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market remains a weak market for Apple. Even though they grew marginally, they're listed in forth position for tablets in that market.
In December Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple in Talks with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Investment Authority to Open First Apple Store in 2019." So Apple has plans to open stores and grow their market in the Middle East. Unfortunately due to the U.S.-Iran tensions, Apple is unable to participate directly in that country giving Samsung and others and advantage over Apple. That situation is unlikely to change in the foreseable future.
With end users continuing to shift to large-screen smartphones, demand for slate tablets is declining across the region. "These devices are increasingly losing significance in the market, with a large portion of them now being purchased for use by children," says Charakla, adding that "The low prices of these devices, together with their touchscreen interface and the availability of numerous free applications, make them particularly attractive for children's infotainment."
As noted below in IDC's PC Market stats, Apple didn't make the top five for desktops and notebooks.
Traditionally MEA has never been a market Apple focused much on. Now with stores in Turkey, Dubai and hopefully Saudi Arabia in 2019, Apple will begin to climb the latter of relevance in that market over the next decade, unless that market gets dragged down with more religious conflicts.
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