Detachables To Turn Around Tablet Decline In 2017

IDC forecasts worldwide detachable growth of 73% in 2016
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Windows-based detachables, like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 (pictured), will take share from other tablet OSs, IDC forecasts..

Worldwide tablet sales, combining slates and detachables, will fall in 2016 but will begin growing in 2017 and beyond by single-digit percentage rates as demand grows for models with detachable keyboards, IDC forecast.

Worldwide tablet shipments, combining slates and detachables, will drop 5.9 percent to 195 million units in 2016, IDC said.

Detachables feature detachable keyboards built by the tablet’s maker and either sold with keyboard included or as an option, IDC tablet research director Jean Philippe Bouchard said. They include products such as the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 3 whose keyboards are a separate purchase, he noted.

Detachable share: Shipments of detachables will grow from 16.6 million in 2015 to 63.8 million in 2020, accounting for 8 percent of the 2015 tablet market and 30 percent, respectively, IDC said. In 2016, detachable unit sales will rise 73 percent, and they will rise 15 percent in 2020 over 2019, IDC forecast.

Windows share of the detachable market will grow the fastest, with unit sales rising 53.3 percent in 2016 and 74.6 percent in 2020, IDC forecast.

"At the latest Mobile World Congress, we saw new entrants like Alcatel and Huawei coming from the mobile space and expanding their portfolio to address the demand for detachables,” said Bouchard. “Everyone in the industry recognizes that traditional personal computers like desktops and notebooks will potentially be replaced by detachables in the coming years.”

As sales shift to detachables from slates, devices with larger screen sizes of 9 inches and up will grow through 2020 while sales of models below 9 inches will fall, IDC said. On top of that, Microsoft-based devices will take share from the other OSs, the company added.

 “Despite the free [Windows] licensing on products under 9 inches, the growth for Windows-based tablets will be primarily on devices with displays between 9 and 13 inches,” said IDC program director Ryan Reith. “Until we see a day where touch is introduced for Mac OS X [laptops] and inroads are paved to bring Android and Chrome more closely aligned, we believe Windows remains the logical choice for detachable products."

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