Shipments of personal computers slumps in 2015

The fluctuation of East African currencies saw personal computers shipments slump by 24.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 compared with the same period last year.

The PC market in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia declined to 108,088 units from 143,617 units, according to global research and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC), which blames the depreciation of local currencies depressing consumer sentiment and purchasing power. 

Each of the four countries recorded double-digit declines year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, with Ethiopia registering a 36.7 per cent fall, Uganda 23.2 per cent and Tanzania and Kenya 22.3 per cent and 19.7 per cent respectively.

Their currencies have shown signs of recovery, thanks to the monetary policies being put in place by the central banks, but IDC predicts the effect on PC shipments may be felt to the end of the year due to external shocks.

“These measures have not been able to reverse the ongoing currency declines, largely because this weakness is being driven by external factors such as the strong US dollar, expectations of US monetary tightening, uncertainties in the Eurozone, and slower growth in China,” said James Mutua, a senior research analyst at IDC.

The Kenyan currency was trading at an average of Ksh102 against the dollar last week.

The Uganda shilling is still trading above the Us,000 mark, despite efforts to mop up dollars in the market. The Tanzania shilling has gained minimally after the elections to trade at an average of Tsh2,142 last week from Tsh2,161 ahead of the October 25 elections.

Cheaper inflows from UAE have also eaten into the market of the official importers and distributors, according to IDC. This was largely due to the flood of gray imports coming from the UAE ahead of the annual Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) technology trade show in Dubai.

“As GITEX approaches, UAE distributors and partners try to clear as much of their older, less-appealing stock, dumping much of it into Africa, even if it means incurring losses,” said James Mutua, a senior research analyst at IDC