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Tablets on the decline in Middle East as big smartphones take over

A total of 13.8 million tablets were sold in the region in 2016 – 14.7% less than in 2015

Sales of tablet PCs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) declined by nearly 25% in the final three months of 2016 in line with a global trend, according to IDC.

A total of 13.8 million tablets were sold in the region in the whole of last year, which was 14.7% less than in 2015. Global sales of tablets fell by 15.6% over the same period.

IDC said tablets were losing their place in the digital world as people increasingly used larger screened smartphones for tasks they would previously have performed on a tablet.

“Tasks that were previously performed on tablets are increasingly moving to bigger-screen smartphones, so tablets are becoming redundant in the consumer ecosystem of gadgets,” said Nakul Dogra, senior research analyst for client devices at IDC MEA.

“Indeed, consumers are now investing more time and money in smartphones than tablets, which has led to a slowdown of tablet markets around the world, not just here in MEA. That said, there are still countries in Africa that have scope for further tablet penetration.”

A lack of tablet innovation is also limiting sales, according to Fouad Rafiq Charakla, senior research manager for client devices at IDC in the Middle East. “With the lack of any noteworthy innovation taking place in much of the tablet space, there is little reason for the majority of consumers to upgrade to newer-generation tablets,” he said, adding that this is prolonging refreshment cycles.

IDC expects the fall in tablet sales to continue this year, with an 8.1% drop in the Middle East and Africa compared with 2016. .......................................................................................................

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