Market Trends

Report: Worldwide Tablet Shipments Will Decline This Year, Rebound in 2018

Worldwide tablet shipments are expected to decline by 12 percent for the rest of 2016, rounding out the year at 182.3 million shipments, according to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

IDC, a tech and communications market research firm, expects the tablet market to rebound in 2018, though growth will remain in the low single digits as detachable tablets slowly gain traction.

“The benefits of a thin and light design combined with a touchscreen are bolstering growth in the detachable tablet market, but are also bleeding over into the PC market as slim and convertible-type notebooks gain popularity,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “This is a welcome change for vendors as average selling prices for notebooks and tablets are expected to increase in the near term.”

Geographically speaking, emerging markets will continue to decline until 2018 and then growth will flatten out in the following two years, according to IDC. Although these markets are forecast to show growth in the detachable segment, the disproportionate decline in slate tablets ensures no growth until 2020. Meanwhile, mature markets will experience positive single-digit growth until 2020 as the decline in slate tablets is offset b the growth in detachable tablets.

“The transition to detachables is inevitable, but slate tablets will remain relevant as highlighted by recent results from Amazon wit its Kindle Fire portfolio,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for Tablets at IDC, in a statement. “Fueled by ultra low-end prices and a growing ecosystem play involving the Internet of Things, slate tablets will still account for more than twice the volume of the detachable segment with 124 million units forecast to be shipped in 2020.”

According to IDC, small screens (7 inches to 9 inches) held a majority share of shipments in 2015 (59.9 percent), but are forecast to decline to 56.4 percent in 2016 and slip to 39.7 percent in 2020.

Medium screens (9 inches to less than 13 inches) comprised 39.8 percent of shipments in 2015, and are expected to grow to 43.1 percent in 2016 and take a majority position of 58.2 percent by 2020.

Large screens (13 inches to less than 16 inches) comprised 0.3 percent of shipments in 2015, and are expected to grow slightly to 0.5 percent in 2016 and 2.1 percent in 2020.

An interactive graphic showing worldwide shipments and year-over-year growth for the 2015-2020 forecast period is available on this site.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].