The IDC released its stats for PC sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) for the last three months of 2013, and the picture isn’t very pretty for the traditional PC. Between October and December 2013, total sales of both desktop and portable PCs amounted to just 4.5 million, down 14.3% on the same period just one year earlier.

The reason for the huge drop in sales was, according to the IDC, consumers opting for tablets and smartphones with longer battery life and portability than traditional PCs can offer. Portable PCs like notebooks and Ultrabooks saw the biggest drop in sales, falling by 18.2%, which can mostly be attributed to the fact that consumers are making a direct switch to tablets as their primary device for portable computing.

Sales in desktop PCs dropped by 7.8% with many users instead opting for notebook PCs. Interestingly, touchscreen-enabled notebooks saw a growth in sales which the IDC attributes to the proliferation of Windows 8.1 which necessitates having touch functionality to get the full benefit of the operating system’s newest features.

South Africa is specifically mentioned as having severely impacted demand for PCs owing to a weak currency and high unemployment, but we are at least expected to see some sort of recovery in 2014 as we lose some of the instability from last year.

Lenovo mirrored its strong performance across the world showing significant growth in MEA, only losing out on the top spot to HP who managed to hold onto its number one position with a number of corporate and education deals in South Africa. Dell, Toshiba and Acer make up the rest of the top five but all three experienced sales drops at the end of the year when compared to 2012. Samsung gets an unenviable special mention for having diverted its focus away from making mass-market PCs, which has caused the South Korean company to slide down several positions on the ranking list.

Some people, myself included, would argue that tablets are as much PCs as notebooks and desktops are, and as such the PC market as a whole is growing and not contracting. But then what doom and gloom would we have to write about four times a year?

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David is a technology enthusiast with an insatiable thirst for information. He tends to get excited over new hardware and will often be the one in the room going "Its got 17 cores, 64GB of RAM and a 5" 4K flexible OLED display, oh it makes phone calls too?" Currently uses: Too many phones. Wants: World peace... and more phones.