South Africa’s big 3 laptop brands

HP, Dell, and Lenovo are South Africa’s best-selling computer brands, but Apple is also a favourite among local IT buffs.

While independent publicly available research on sales of computers in South Africa is challenging to come by, the International Data Corporation (IDC) tracks PC shipments in the broader Southern African market.

Of the 13 countries typically included in this region, South Africa is the biggest market for PCs.

In its latest published report, the IDC found that 1.1 million computing devices — including desktops, laptops, and tablets — were shipped across the region in the first half of 2023.

In the PC segment, the IDC found that HP had increased its dominant share of the market from 23.8% in the first half of 2022 to 26.1% a year later.

Dell shoved past Lenovo to climb to the second spot with 18.9% market share compared to 18.5% over the previous period.

Lenovo saw a substantial decline from 23.2% in H1 2022 to 17.8% in H1 2023.

Asus also grew its market share to 15% from 13.4% in the previous period to cement its #4 position.

The table below summarises the market shares of Southern Africa’s three biggest PC vendors, according to the IDC.

South African Personal Computing Device Market tracker — IDC
Manufacturer Market share — H1 2022  Market share — H1 2023
HP 23.8% 26.1%
Dell 18.5% 18.9%
Lenovo 23.2% 17.8%
Asus 13.4% 15.0%
Others 21.1% 22.2%

The IDC’s findings largely correlate with polls and surveys run by MyBroadband in the past year, with one slight deviation.

In August 2023, we asked MyBroadband readers, most of whom are South African, which laptop brands they preferred.

Dell received 29.2% of the vote, Lenovo had 15.5%, and HP had 14.2%.

The surprise was that Apple ranked second with 23.9% of the vote, beating Lenovo and HP.

In a recent MyBroadband survey of IT professionals, Dell also stood out as a favourite — receiving 29% of 2,500 votes.

Apple again ranked second, with 18% of the vote, followed by HP and Lenovo with 16% and 15%, respectively.

However, it is important to emphasise that both that poll and the survey asked what laptop brand people preferred to use, rather than what they owned.

When we asked our readers what laptop brands they owned in June 2023, the Big 3 ruled supreme.

The charts below show the brands of laptops that MyBroadband’s readers said they owned when we polled them in June 2023.

Dell, HP, and Lenovo are also the world’s three most popular computer makers, followed by Apple, Asus, and Acer.

Although Apple’s MacBooks enjoy widespread appeal for their robust design, high performance, and excellent battery life, they come up short against the Big 3 in other key areas.

Firstly, the Big 3 offer laptops and desktops at much lower starting prices than Apple, with numerous highly-capable models available for less than R10,000.

The most affordable new MacBook Air starts at R17,999, while the Mac Mini starts at R14,499.

In addition, the manufacturers also offer budget-focused Chromebooks that are ideal for classrooms or casual users who only need basic apps and functionality.

Secondly, Dell, Lenovo, and HP’s Windows laptops are often regarded as better suited for the office environment.

This is for various reasons, including cost, ease of finding Windows IT administrator skills, and ease of integration with existing Windows corporate networks.

Windows is more familiar to IT administrators and offers better integration and compatibility with other highly popular and dominant Microsoft software — like the Microsoft 365 productivity suite.

The historical dominance of Windows in South Africa also means people are more likely to be familiar with the operating system.

Schools and businesses want to spend as little time as possible on training learners or employees to use their systems. Because of South Africa’s legacy with Windows, this process will likely go easier than on MacOS.

Thirdly, HP and Dell are well-known for their wide range of complementary computing equipment and peripherals.

In addition to computers, HP is one of the most recognisable printer brands, while Dell is reputed for its monitors.

Apple’s peripherals and monitors are geared towards designers and developers rather than traditional corporate environments, which limits its market to the premium segment.

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South Africa’s big 3 laptop brands