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Tablets on track to outpace PCs in the UAE by 2017

Cost savings and mass preference are expected to drive sales

Tablets in schools
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
In 2017, total tablet sales are expected to be 2.39 million as opposed to 2.32 million computers.
Gulf News

Dubai: The tablet computer market in the UAE is set to surpass the PC (portable and desktop) market in 2017 due to remarkable growth from the home segment and aided by steady expansion in the commercial segment as well.

In 2017, total tablet sales are expected to be 2.39 million as opposed to 2.32 million computers.

The tablet market will cross one million units this year to 1.27 million units compared to 619,770 units last year, registering a growth of 104.91 per cent.

“Education projects like Shaikh Mohammad’s ‘Smart learning’ initiative in the UAE are expected to drive commercial tablet sales in the coming years. The hospitality, banking sector and the aviation sub-sector are expected to be other key industries,” Fouad R. Charakla, research manager at IDC, told Gulf News.

In 2016, he said the tablet market will overtake the portable PC market.

Best-selling product

“The mass market is progressing towards low-cost tablets for mobile use of connected devices,” said Yousuf Saidi, Group COO of Eurostar Group. He said the seven-inch tablet was the best-selling product in the last period and “we are continuously increasing our sales quarter-on-quarter in the region”.

”We enjoy 30 per cent market share in the low-cost tablet segment apart from our high-end models. We will bring out innovative products with a stress on value for money, quality and features,” Saidi said.

He added: “Global players will not be able to compete with us as we are close to our markets and customers, so we customise our products accordingly to enhance the customer experience with thematic concepts on our tablets”.

According to Arif Khan, director at Simmtronics Semiconductors Ltd., tablet computer sales have been very good in the UAE. “We are vendors as well as manufacturers of our products. Majority of our competitors do not have their own plant. We make our own products and it is 100 per cent made in India.”

He said that even though their products have the same look and features as those of bigger names, their products were more affordable.

“We are going up the ladder. We have sold 30,000 tablets only in the UAE in the first quarter and have crossed 40,000 units in the second quarter. Our target is to sell 150,000 tablets in the UAE alone,” he said.

Fall in prices likely

Going forward, Khan said prices of low-cost tablets will fall by around $3-$4, but consumers are not bothered about this small fall in prices. They are looking for a “stable product.”

Traditional PC vendors, although initially counting on the Windows 8 platform to grow their tablet market share, are now pushing their Android tablets alongside Windows at competitive prices in order to capture share in the tablet market.

The average selling price of a tablet is expected to fall to $346 (Dh1,270) this year compared to $477 last year.

“The strong growth of Android and Windows 8 tablets will inevitably have an impact on Apple’s market share,” said Charakla. He said Apple’s iOS is expected to continue losing share, while the market share of Android-based tablets is expected to increase this year, largely due to a high number of tablet models priced $150 and below.

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