African retailers shifting their attention on smart devices

Posted on November 1, 2013 08:48 am

Consumer demand in most African countries is weakening according to the latest data and this is said to be the first time PC market has experienced a decline in Africa and industry analyst I spoke to predict that the weak momentum could persist in the foreseeable future. According to him, technology retailers in Africa are adjusting to a major transition in the overall market by turning their attention to smart phones and tablets to support the new demand trend and ensure their business survival that has contributed to slower PC sales. However, the overall market for IT products will remain stable but the market for smart devices offers high growth potential, according to latest survey. In Kampala Uganda retailers are adapting their business position focusing on sales of smart phones and tablets to serve the country’s current market trend. Most gadget stores in and around Ugandan capital are allocating close to half of their stores spaces for smart-phone and tablet and that has provided an opportunity to support the new demand and lifestyle of customers.

The main IT market in Africa include notebooks and desktop computers which is stable and growing in poorer African countries like Malawi, Benin, Mauritania, DR Congo, Congo while in countries like South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia customers are now increasingly buying smart phones and tablets as their new IT devices. Mid sized companies in devices selling business are setting up branches in the rural areas, with some having outlets nationwide. Most of the outlets have both smart devices like tablets and smartphones and retail businesses for selling both customary IT products to customers across the country. The growth in popularity for smart devices has transformed retail shopping in Africa by leading to the opening of previously ignored areas to cover the demand especially outback where there is high potential growth and room in the market. A good example is northern Uganda town of Gulu that was adversely affected by war in 1990s but has since the end of the war seen an influx of businesses selling computer hardware and software. I do believe that the decline in revenue largely result from reduced demand in the PC and notebook market as African customers switch to purchasing smart devices like phones and Tablets as a device to support their personal and mobility needs. Me also think that cost of power has contributed to the majority jumping into smart devices although overall the IT market will continue to grow, thanks to African’s new lifestyle trend and their need for smart mobile devices driving the market.

Contador Harrison