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Tablets To Fizz Again, Strategy Analytics Says

Things are looking up for tablets in 2016.

Shipments will grow 7 percent globally in units after a 4 percent decline in 2015 as consumers replace aging models and as Windows 10 models tap into the prosumer and enterprise segments, Strategy Analytics contended.

“Fast growth in the early years means that hundreds of millions of tablets will rapidly need upgrades due to old age in the next one to four years,” the research company said on the eve of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 launch. Suppliers are also targeting sales opportunities focused on the enterprise to expand the business, the company said.

Tablet unit shipments grew 311 percent in 2011 and 123 percent in 2012 before slowing to 33 percent in 2013 and 7 percent in 2014, Strategy Analytics said.

 Research director Peter King, pointed out “improved processor technologies from the likes of Intel, which enable tablets to be more powerful, thinner, and lighter, are also driving the market.”

In recent years, he added, two-in-one detachable tablets “have become affordable enough that they will compete for consumer spend of both products. A household could settle on a two-in-one tablet for casual use, which can also transform into a dockable mini workstation when needed for more intensive activities.”

The emergence of tablets with screen sizes starting at 11 inches “plays into the prosumer and enterprise segments due to cost and functionality,” he also said.

Regarding the impending Surface Pro 4 launch, senior analyst Eric Smith said Microsoft is “leading the growing pack of professional-grade tablets running Windows 10.” The release of Windows 10 in July provided opportunities “to better position tablets against PCs on productivity needs and compatibility with the office setting,” he explained.

Nonetheless, he added, “opportunity abounds at the low-end as well, where white-box vendors are already selling ultra-low price-tier two-in-one tablets to compete against low-end PCs and tablets for casual use, particularly well-suited in emerging markets for consumers new to the computing segment.”