The PC market of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries passed the 1 mln unit mark in 2004. According to IDC, unit shipments rose by nearly 40% to more than 1.13 mln units while revenue rose 34% to more than $1.27 bln. A surge in oil prices pumped money into the region and in turn spurred investment in IT hardware last year. IDC expects the market to stay healthy, with unit shipments rising 26% this year and approximately 23% in 2006.
The GCC PC market was driven by demand for notebooks, with unit shipments for portables shooting up by almost 90% in 2004. Nevertheless, desktops still dominated, as vendors and channel sellers cut prices and developed sales packages to entice buyers. According to IDC, in 2004 the segment expanded by a healthy 20.1% and the machines accounted for 58.5% of shipments. x86 servers represented 2.5% of shipment volume. Saudi Arabia was the largest country market for PCs in the GCC, but the UAE was close behind and Kuwait was the third largest market. Together these three countries represented almost 87% of shipment volume in the region. The notebook segment was the most dynamic, expanding by more than 65% in four of the six GCC counties in IDC study. In the UAE, the segment increased a dramatic 96.6%, and in Saudi Arabia it more than doubled.