PC shipments to Nigeria fell 57.1% year-on-year in 2016 to total 156,511 units according to latest figures compiled by International Data Corporation (IDC).
The IDC says this means the market has now fallen to its lowest levels since the research and analysis firm started tracking it in the first quarter of 2008 – and this due to unstable exchange rates, poor economic performance, and the steady rise of refurbished gray market imports causing a decline that has continued since 2013.
Babatunde Afolayan, senior research analyst at IDC West Africa says the loss of value by Nigeria’s currency against the US dollar over the last few years has played a role.
“To make matters worse, the government excluded IT products from accessing foreign currencies at the interbank rate, pushing channel partners to obtain foreign currencies from the unofficial market, where rates are typically 40–50% higher.”
Afolayan says factors including poor economic performance have significantly weakened the purchasing power of end users and resulted in low demand for PC products.
“Both commercial and consumer end users have been prolonging their PC lifecycles beyond what is generally considered normal,” he says. “And in cases where new purchases are being made, commercial end users are typically opting for cheaper models while consumers are increasingly opting for refurbished products. An additional challenge is that channel partners are no longer stocking units to meet future demand; PCs are now ordered on a need-to-supply basis, and only after orders have been fully paid.”
The import of refurbished PCs – primarily from the UAE, the U.K., and China – is proving particularly challenging for official channels, with such products comfortably outnumbering official shipments of primary PCs according to the IDC.
“At the same time, the volume of gray market imports is steadily increasing. One of the main reasons is the lower price points at which resellers can purchase products from gray market sources, giving them better profit margins than official channels,” adds Afolayan.
Afolayan believes efforts by the government to improve the country’s economic performance can be expected to drive a recovery of sorts in Nigeria’s PC market. The Central Bank of Nigeria is considering the inclusion of IT products for interbank rates when it comes to accessing foreign currencies.
“We anticipate a levelling off in 2017 as foreign exchange rates stabilise and IT decision makers begin to renew spending as most of their products will have passed the end of their lifespans. IDC forecasts that this relatively flat growth in 2017 will be followed by a much stronger year-on-year increase of 59.9% in 2018.”