Tablets to make a comeback in 2018, and Windows continues to gain market share, according to IDC

Laurent Giret

Surface Pro 4 Type Cover with Fingerprint ID

IDC released today its latest Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker numbers, and the market research company forecasts that the worldwide tablet market will continue to decline for the remainder of 2016 as well as next year. IDC anticipates that worldwide tablet sales will reach an all-time low of 183.4 million units (-11.5% year-over-year) this year, though the company expects the tablet market to finally return to growth in 2018 with a forecast of 184 million tablets sold during that year.

IDC Worldwide tablet tracker forecast.
IDC Worldwide tablet tracker forecast.

IDC also anticipates that detachable tablets will slowly gain market share against slate tablets: 85% of all tablets shipped this year will be slates, according to the company, but this number is expected to decrease to 68% in 2020. As the market will be shifting toward detachable tablets, IDC also expects small tablets to become less popular: while 55% of all tablets shipped in 2016 will be 9 inches or smaller according to the company, this market share is expected to decrease to 40% by 2020.

Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director at IDC, explained:

We see smaller slate tablets being offered at very aggressive price points, leaving little room for revenues outside of a pure volume or platform play like for Amazon for instance. The price pressure combined with a healthier demand on larger screen sizes and detachable tablets will eventually result in an increased portfolio offering from tablet and PC manufacturers.

Lastly, the rise of detachable tablets is set to benefit the Windows ecosystem as IDC forecasts Windows tablets to grow from a 11.3% worldwide tablet share in 2016 to a 19.3% share in 2020. However,  IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani explained that both Android and iOS will remain solid competitors in that space:

Appealing to the commercial audience will be key as detachable tablets aim to take a larger piece of the traditional PC market. Windows and iOS already have solid detachable offerings and with the latest version of Android, Google will also have a horse in the race as they finally offer better multitasking support and added security features.

Worldwide Quatertly Tablet Tracker numbers.
IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker numbers.

Do you also think that detachable tablets will help the tablet market to get back to growth in future? Let us know what you think of IDC’s latest numbers in the comments below.