The East African PC market, which covers Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, shrank 6,4% year-on-year to 207 385 units, according to IDC. 
In Kenya, this decline can be attributed to the general election, as most government businesses were at a near standstill awaiting the new administration.
The Ethiopian market has experienced extended tender proceedings. The Tanzanian government, after concluding several major contracts, has yet to pay for items and services rendered (thus causing vendors to avoid further tender proceedings).
Desktop PCs recorded a huge slump in the same period; a 53,3% year-on-year drop to 37 551 units.
In Kenya, this can be attributed to the general election, with organisations in education (the major consumer of desktop PCs) being forced to wait for the new government to assume office. The market in Ethiopia was impacted by last year’s long tender proceedings, which prevented some major vendors from concluding contracts.
Portable PCs recorded an impressive 20,2% year-on-year growth in the same period, to 169 834 units. This was due mainly to consumer preferences shifting to ease in mobility, and the pricing strategies employed by some vendors, which are shipping large numbers of portable PCs without OSes – hence making them affordable to the entire East Africa region.
“The major threat to the growth of PCs in the region will be smartphones and tablets, since for the first time we are seeing smartphone and tablet vendors pushing entry-level products through telco retail outlets, hence to a larger customer base,” says James Mutua, a research analyst at IDC East Africa.
“This is also a big boost for telcos, as it will increase their data revenues with more consumers in the region using data mainly on their tablets and smartphones, rather than PCs,” he says.