With the rand weakening against the dollar, local users can expect to pay at least 10% more for laptops from March this year.
This is according to Christopher Riley, MD of The Notebook Company, who says there was "an initial" surge in laptop sales during the Eskom power debacle that hit South Africa in January and February. However, the recent reduction in load shedding has "calmed" the market.
"End users are now playing a wait-and-see game," he says. "They want to see if the power situation will stabilise and become livable before making a purchase decision.
"However, personally, I don't think we are by any means clear of the rolling blackouts we faced earlier this year. Things might be better now; but as soon as electricity is cut routinely – like it was during January and part of February – we will see a new surge in sales of notebooks as people rush out to buy."
But Riley said that laptop users are, nonetheless, facing a 10% increase in the price of laptops due to the rand's decrease against the dollar during February.
IDC reports that the last quarter of 2007 witnessed continued growth in mobile PC sales in South Africa, with business and consumer spending on PCs growing 4,9% in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006.
Total SA shipments for 2007 amounted to more than 1,7-million units, representing a 6,2% increase over 2006. Notebook sales grew more than 20% in volume year-on-year, while desktops have decreased slightly over the same period.
Riley says there will be a continued growth in laptop sales as businesses and consumers continue to replace desktop PCs with laptops.
"PC sales are clearly not going to grow much in the foreseeable future, but we are going to see sustained growth in laptop sales.
"Notwithstanding the market variants – such as the weakened rand – laptops will continue to remain more popular with users then desktops. This does not signal the death of the PC, it just means that users – and today's businesses – have recognised the need to be mobile."