This could be good news for the iPad: worldwide tablet shipments are expected to decline by 12% in 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. The research group expects the 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. "This is a welcome change for vendors as average selling prices for notebooks and tablets are expected to increase in the near term."
From a geographic perspective, emerging markets will continue to decline until 2018 and then growth will flatten out in the following two years. Although these markets are forecast to show growth in the detachable segment, the disproportionate decline in slate tablets ensures no growth until 2020. (IDC considers the iPad Pro as a “detachable”.) Meanwhile, mature markets will experience positive single-digit growth until 2020 as the decline in slate tablets is offset by the growth in detachable tablets, note the research group.
"The transition to detachables is inevitable, but slate tablets (ones without attachable keyboards) will remain relevant as highlighted by recent results from Amazon with its Kindle Fire portfolio," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director, Tablets at IDC. "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."