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Lebanon tops Levant PC sales - Market lead over Syria, Jordan, expected to continue

Lebanon, the largest market for Personal Computers (PCs) in the Levant, is expected to account for 38 percent of the 222,223 units to be shipped to the region in 2004, a research study published this week has forecast.

The IDC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) forecast said Lebanon continued to lead in PC shipments in 2002 ­ followed by Syria and Jordan ­ and is expected to continue to dominate into 2004. “Lebanon was the largest market among the countries examined in the latest IDC PC market study,” said the group.

“The PC market in the country reached 64,136 units with a value of $64.96 million. This constitutes 41.7 percent of total volume and 42.3 percent of value of the PC market in the Levant.”

The second-largest PC market was Syria, which totaled 45,000 units valued at $41.8 million, followed by Jordan with 44,700 units valued at $46.78 million.

The report said PC sales in the Levant increased despite turmoil and lower purchasing power.

“The tense situation in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, changes within local governments and the implementation of a new value-added tax (VAT) were the main restrictions on the market,” said Omar Shihab, research analyst at IDC MENA. “Many large and very large businesses were cautious in their IT investments during 2002, however numerous projects within the government and banking sectors were undertaken, especially in Syria and Jordan.”

The report said HP (including Compaq), Acer, Comtek (Lebanon), Dell and IBM were the top five companies in PC sales for the Levant.

The increase in PC sales was due to greater government spending on IT projects, particularly Jordan and Syria, which are upgrading their administrations.

However, Syria still suffers from a US trade embargo on importing technological equipment and this is affecting the shipment of PCs to the country, which usually takes place through neighboring countries.

The sale of laptop computers in the Levant is also increasing, reaching 16,686 units in 2002 ­ a total value of $24.69 million. “The PC market in the Levant region is far from saturation and still lags behind the more developed markets of the Gulf region. However, toward the end of IDC’s forecast period (2005), PC market growth rates begin to tail off in key segments of the economy,” the report concluded.

Beirut,01 19 2004
Dania Saadi
The Daily Star
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