Tablet Sales Remain Strong Despite 2-Year Decline
Tablet shipments will drop for the second straight year, dipping 9.6 percent below 2015 totals, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC), and will face another down year in 2017 before rebounding slightly in 2018 on the strength of detachables. Currently, detachable tablets make up 16 percent of the tablet market, but IDC predicts that share to nearly double to 31 percent by 2020.
"Tablet life cycles have proven to be more like PCs a few years back, which is likely to be somewhere around four years," according to a news release. "Tablet manufacturers, both large and small, are slowly shifting focus toward the detachable tablet market segment, which has quickly resulted in increased product offerings, lower average selling prices (ASPs), and broadened consumer awareness for the category. Many traditional PC manufacturers have assumed the detachable category to be a natural extension of the PC market and perhaps assumed it would rightfully be theirs to capture. Now they find themselves in head-to-head competition with a slew of new manufacturers that have created their market off of smartphone and slate tablet growth. This brings new channel dynamics and lower prices to a brand new category with an abundance of upside."
Despite the year-over-year contraction in the segment, IDC still predicts well more than 100 million units sold each year through the end of the forecast period in 2020 with cost as the main driver.
Android's dominance of the slate tablet segment will continue throughout the forecast period, improving from a 72 percent share in 2015 to 75 percent in 2016 where it will remain through 2020. iOS devices will hold second place, dropping from a 25 percent share in 2015 to 22 percent this year and 21 percent by 2020. Windows will hold relatively steady at 3 percent in 2015 and 2016 and 4 percent in 2020.
In the detachable segment of the market, Windows devices have fared much better, with a 70 percent share last year, and will continue to do so, according to IDC, with a 49 percent share this year and 51 percent in 2020. iOS detachables, which captured 14 percent of the market segment last year, are forecast to account for 38 percent of the segment this year and 29 percent in 2020. Android devices made up 16 percent of detachable shipments in 2015 and will account for 12 percent and 20 percent of devices sold in 2016 and 2020, respectively, according to IDC's forecast.
"It wasn't long ago the industry talked about one PC per person and to some extent that theory has vanished," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in a prepared statement. "I'd rather look at it and say the PC we were referencing six to eight years ago has changed, drastically. In many emerging markets the only computing device for many will be a mobile device, whether that is a small screen tablet, smartphone, or both. This is the main reason why, despite all the hype that the detachable category receives, we believe cheaper slate tablets fill an important void."
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.