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Demand for Detachables Rise in Declining Tablet Market

Demand for tablets has shifted to those with detachable keyboards, though global shipments this year are forecast to have declined 8.1 percent, according to IDC's latest report. The growing preference for detachables, or 2-in-1s, has helped Windows gain a bigger, albeit still marginal piece of the tablet pie, according to the IDC Tablet Tracker released Monday.

Shipments of tablets are expected to reach 211 million worldwide, according to the IDC forecast, which has shown three quarters of declines. The research firm expects demand for detachable tablets to continue to rise, which is evident in robust sales of Microsoft Surface Pros, the company's release of the Surface Book and a number of new 2-in-1 units released this quarter by the major OEM providers.

"In the coming year, IDC expects shipments of detachable tablets to increase 75 percent. The proliferation of detachable offerings from hardware vendors continues to help drive this switch," said IDC's Tablet Research Director Jean Philippe Bouchard, in a statement. Jitesh Ubrani, IDC senior research analyst, added in a separate statement that Apple's new iPad Pro is likely to help iOS gain more share among prosumers and enterprise users, despite mixed reviews for the new device. "At the same time we expect Windows-based devices  -- slates and detachables combined --  to more than double its market share by 2019, driven by a combination of traditional PC OEMs as well as more household smartphone vendors," Ubrani said.

Windows-based devices are expected to account for only 8.5 percent of all tablets this year, up from just 5 percent last year, according to IDC. Next year, the share of Windows tablets will grow to 10.5 percent and is projected to reach nearly 18 percent by 2019. Microsoft's gains are expected to come largely from declines in Android share, while iOS is forecast to remain flat.

Another noteworthy trend is waning demand for smaller tablets in favor of medium sized units. Tablets sold ranging from seven to nine inches in size accounted for 57.7 percent this year, down from 61 percent in 2014. The share of tablets greater than nine but smaller than 13 inches is expected to rise this year to 41.9 percent from 35.8 percent in 2014. By 2019, those medium-sized tablets are forecast to account for 55.1 percent, while the smaller ones will be 43 percent.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/02/2015 at 12:46 PM


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