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MEA PC Market Set for First Sign of Growth in Seven Quarters

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Middle East and Africa PC market (including Turkey) is tipped to end a dismal run of seven consecutive quarters of year-on-year declines in Q2 2014 by posting long-awaited growth of 3.2%, according to the latest forecasts from research and advisory services firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The recently compiled results for Q1 2014 were not so positive, however, with overall PC shipments down 8.3% year on year to total 4.8 million units, although this decline was slower than previously expected.

“Demand in the regional PC market continues to suffer as end users maintain their shift toward tablets and smartphones,” said Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

“However, aggressive pricing strategies, an increasing focus from PC vendors on introducing innovative new form factors, and signs of recovery from the political instability that plagued certain parts of the region have all combined to soften the pace of decline in the PC market.”

Emerging products such as All-in-Ones in the desktop category and convertible notebooks and ultraslim notebooks in the portable PC space continue to gain momentum, although this is largely at the expense of demand for the traditional desktop and notebook form factors.

And after being active in the computing industry for almost seven years, mini-notebooks have reached their end-of-life in the region, with no units shipped during Q1 2014.

“The ongoing recovery from political tensions and other major issues in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa contributed significantly to the revival of PC demand in those countries, causing PC shipments to either grow or decline at a much slower rate,” continues Charakla.

“At the same time, the discontinuation of support from Microsoft for its Windows XP operating system (OS) forced some organizations in the region to upgrade the OS in their PCs, while others opted to replace their PCs altogether, which positively impacted commercial demand.”

Looking at the market in more detail, portable PC shipments declined 8.9% year on year in Q1 2014 to total 3 million units, while desktop shipments declined 7.2% to 1.8 million.

The top five vendors remained unchanged from the previous quarter. HP maintained its lead after posting year-on-year growth of 14.9% thanks to its stronghold in both the commercial and consumer segments and its significantly stronger share in the African PC market.

Second-placed Lenovo achieved astounding growth of 55.4% year on year, courtesy of its strong performance in the consumer segment, while Dell, Toshiba, and Acer posted declines of 4.5%, 11.6%, and 10.5% respectively.

Looking ahead, IDC’s forecast for growth in Q2 2014 will see PC shipments to the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey reach 4.5 million units, while 2014 overall is expected to see shipments increase 1.9% year on year, with desktop PCs declining 3.7% and portable PCs growing 5.5% due to the ongoing shift toward mobility.

A number of large-scale education deals, particularly in Pakistan and Kenya, will also contribute positively to the growth of portable PC shipments in the region.

However, beyond 2014, the regional PC market is expected to return to a state of consistent marginal decline.

 


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E-Business

Davido Launches Chatter, Own Social Media App

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David Adeleke, Nigerian musician well known as Davido, has launched Chatter, a new social media application.

Davido Launches Chatter, Own Social Media App

Chatter is a social audiovisual utility platform designed to help amplify the voice of content creators and connect them with a vibrant community.

However, the app’s usage goes beyond content creators; business-minded individuals, as well as people looking to connect, have a place on it.

The musician used his social media accounts to announce the app’s release.

He gave a brief history of the development of the software and its features with his friend.

The well-known musician from Nigeria stated that he and Sir Banko, his close friend  are the owners of the app.

The music icon posted information about Chatter, a social audiovisual utility platform that connects content creators to a lively community and helps them magnify their voices.

In the past eight months, Davido has undertaken three internet projects.

Recall that the musician introduced his cryptocurrency.

However, the $DAVIDO coin fell a few days after it launched, prompting some cryptocurrency fans to call it a scam and a rug-pull.

 

 


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E-Business

Holiday Shopping Season to Look Different for Retailers this Year as Shoppers Take on more Debt

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By Zuko Mdwaba, Salesforce Area Vice President & Africa Leader

New Salesforce research shows that 37% of indebted consumers are using their credit cards more today than they were a year ago, while 32% report using alternative credit services like “buy now, pay later” more frequently. What’s more, 43% of consumers are carrying more debt compared to 2023. And this isn’t unique to one income bracket — consumers across all levels are tapping into their credit lines more today than they were last year.

Zuko Mdwaba

Zuko Mdwaba

But this increased reliance on credit isn’t due to consumers buying more. According to the Salesforce Shopping Index, online order volumes have been falling since 2022 and decreased by 2% year over year in the first quarter of this year. When they do buy, they’re trading down, buying discounted merchandise, and seeking private labels.

Holiday shopping prediction #1: Chinese shopping apps will take market share

As consumers face uncertainty around rising prices, they’re changing shopping habits. Long gone are the pandemic times when the fastest shipping time could win over new business. Now it comes down to price.

Shoppers are looking for the best deal. Two-thirds of global shoppers report that prices dictate where they chose to shop, with less than one-third prioritising quality of the goods. Temu is the clear winner, with 43% of Western shoppers purchasing on this platform within the last six months. But for Gen Zers, Shein is the top destination, with half of this group placing an order recently.

This holiday season, we predict that Chinese shopping applications will capture $160 billion in global ecommerce market share outside of China.

Holiday shopping prediction #2: Middle-mile shipping puts strain on margins

The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and rising crude oil prices are driving up container costs worldwide, putting strain on the middle-mile infrastructure for the first half of the year. Additionally, last-mile challenges are also stacking up thanks to events like the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and rising delivery costs – stalling delivery times and adding expenses for retailers.

But retailers shouldn’t push the shipping expenses back on shoppers. Free shipping offers are a top-three reason why consumers choose to make a purchase from a particular brand or retailer. Over half of shoppers say they are more likely to purchase online than in store if delivery is free.

This holiday season we predict brands and retailers will spend an extra $197B in middle-mile expenses, increasing 97% over last year.

Holiday shopping prediction #3: Shoppers embrace AI to search for the perfect gift

Last holiday season, 17% of online purchases were influenced by AI – both predictive and generative. That totalled a whopping $199M of onlines sales worldwide in November and December. This year, consumers will increasingly leverage AI – knowingly or not – to search for the right gift at the right price. In fact, 53% of shoppers surveyed said they are interested in using generative AI for inspiring the perfect present. As retailers increasingly embed AI into search experiences, we predict search will drive a nearly 3x better conversion rate compared to traffic not engaging with site search.

Holiday shopping prediction #4: Black Friday becomes Cyber Friday

Over the years, as online shopping grew in popularity and consumers could shop from anywhere, holiday shopping started earlier and earlier in the month of November. Last year, Black Friday gained back 4% of online holiday sales, establishing itself as the biggest online shopping day of the year.

We’re expecting the same of the upcoming holiday shopping season. Two-thirds of shoppers say they’re holding out on making big purchases until Cyber Week, anticipating better deals. The big news is that Black Friday is going to be the biggest day for digital. Salesforce research predicts online sales will take 7% of in store sales on Black Friday.

Holiday shopping prediction #5: Retailers tap loyal shoppers to avoid skyrocketing digital marketing costs

Customer acquisition continues to be costly for retailers. In the face of a busy election cycles, and as Chinese companies buy up advertising inventory, digital marketing costs continue to get more expensive, and opportunities to get in front of the right audience grow scarce. This means that brands and retailers have to better engage their existing customer base amid this tug of war over digital advertising space.

But there are other opportunities. Shoppers are doubling down on loyalty. According to our Salesforce Shopping Index, the rate of repeat buyers in the first quarter increased by 8% over the last two years. And shoppers are prioritising brands and retailers that offer loyalty programmes. Our research shows 63% of shoppers are making more purchases from stores where they can earn and redeem loyalty points. This holiday season, we predict that 2 out of 5 holiday purchases will be made by a loyal repeat buyer.


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APTS Cyber-Attacks Target African Governments, Others

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Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity firm, has said that it is keeping a close eye on advanced persistent threats (APTs) and nine active threat actors targeting African organisations.

APTS Cyber-Attacks Target African Governments, Others

Kaspersky researchers’ intelligence has identified government, energy, and telecommunications as the primary targets in African countries.

APT groups are long-term, targeted cyber-attacks in which intruders obtain network access and go undiscovered for a lengthy period of time. APT attacks are typically initiated to steal extremely sensitive data.

These APT organisations are frequently driven by espionage, financial gain, or, in some cases, hacktivism.

According to Kaspersky intelligence, MuddyWater, FruityArmor, and Sidewinder are among the region’s most prominent groups.

Kaspersky, which says it protects over a billion devices worldwide from cyberattacks, collaborates with law enforcement and offers intelligence to help them track down these sophisticated hackers.

These threat actors, according to the company, use a variety of methods to infiltrate their targets in the region.

Social engineering is a typical method employed on social media or via email, such as placing a bogus job advertisement for software developers.

According to Amin Hasbini, head of Kaspersky’s global research and analysis team for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, said it is critical to keep up with these sophisticated syndicates and stop corporate espionage.

“The current geopolitical climate is a hotbed for APT activity, therefore, investigating these attacks and gaining intelligence on their movement is vital for security teams and corporations in Africa. Our research allows businesses and government entities to determine the significance of the threat posed, understand the attackers’ next move and accordingly be able to take the appropriate security steps to protect themselves,” he said.

 

 

 


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