Some laptop distributors and retailers in South Africa say they have noticed strong revenue growth since the start of the year, and market research firm GfK says inflation could be to blame.
“We have seen the laptop re-emerge as the centre of our digital lives as the need for remote work has increased, and it has become clear that the mobile phone is not adequate for video conferencing and productivity,” JD Group tech marketing executive Stef Michael told MyBroadband.
“We have seen exceptional growth in gaming laptops as consumers are spending more time at home, and research is showing that time spent on gaming has grown exponentially.”
“There exists a strong demand for versatile devices that can serve as productivity devices for work and entertainment devices for relaxation,” he added.
Alviva Holdings — the umbrella company of Axiz, Pinnacle, and Tarsus — also said it had seen laptop revenue increase.
“Alviva holdings said it has had meaningful notebook revenue growth along with other ‘work from home products’ like networking, accessories and monitors,” the company said.
However, GfK said this growth could be attributed to inflation and price increases in the face of supply chain challenges.
GfK said that while the laptop market experienced marginal growth in the first quarter of the year, it was insignificant compared to previous years.
“The laptop market experienced marginal growth in the first quarter (1 January to 31 March) this year, recording a 3.7% increase year-on-year in unit sales to 214,000 units and a 9.9% increase in value,” said GfK South Africa business development manager Seele Matsoso.
“The increase in the value of the market can be attributed to inflation and annual price increases amid continued supply chain pressures.”
Matsoso also provided stats from previous years to compare.
“To compare performance to earlier years, we saw a marginal increase (2.1%) in sales and small (2.3%) decline in value in 2019, when 688,000 units shipped for the year,” he said.
“In 2020, sales increased 5.1% to 717,000 units and value surged 23.1% as South Africans traded up to higher performance devices to remain productive during a time of remote work and schooling.”
Best-selling PC brands in Southern Africa
The International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed the top four PC vendors in Southern Africa during the third quarter of 2021.
Its tracker showed that HP had the highest unit share in Southern Africa during the quarter.
IDC research analyst Grave Munyi said that the region’s personal computing device (PCD) market performed well during the quarter.
“Despite the continued global stock supply challenges caused by a shortage of components and chipsets, the Southern Africa PCD market recorded a strong performance during the quarter,” Munyi said.
“A huge backlog orders and rising adoption of education technologies to support online learning were the key commercial growth drivers, while retail sales spurred consumer growth.”
“Demand remained high across the region but vendors were unable to fully meet it, so they prioritised the supply of devices to commercial end-users,” she added.
More recently, the IDC’s data for the first quarter of 2022 revealed that HP still held the highest market share in the Middle East and Africa region at 26.8%. It also showed that the market in South Africa recorded strong growth.
“South Africa saw strong year-on-year growth as previously unfulfilled orders continued to be met,” IDC’s senior research manager for client services in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, Fouad Charakla, said.
It is important to note that the IDC’s tracker isn’t specific to laptops and includes desktop PCs too.
MyBroadband asked Esquire, Mustek, Pinnacle, Tarsus, and several retailers what their most popular laptop brands were, but they did not provide feedback by the time of publication.