2016 has not been a great year for tablets, but experts predict that tablets sales will perk up by 2018. Tablet sales have been down 11.5% this year and "only" 183.4 million units have been shipped. Many experts, however, expect that tablet sales will begin to increase in 2018 and reach 194.2 million shipments by 2020.
Why is the tablet market such a roller coaster ride? Larger, detachable tablets are the reason. Consumers want devices that are multi-functional. Many would consider, a larger, detachable tablet to be more useful and cost efficient than a tablet and laptop. By the end of this year, roughly 55% of all tablets sold will be 9 inches or smaller, but this number is expected to drop to 40% by 2020. Slate tablets have so far accounted for 85% of the 2016 market, however, the sales mix will also likely decrease to 68%.
Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, remarked, “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.”
Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director at IDC, believes that this change will be healthy for the market. Smaller, slate tablets are unlikely to disappear entirely and therefore customers will be offered more options at better prices. He remarked, “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.”
Competitive prices also mean that small, slate tablets will likely be introduced to new and/or less prosperous markets that demand low-cost computing devices. This is one reason Chromebooks are one of the most popular options in classrooms and one of the best sellers in the United States market. Chromebooks are simple devices and thus are also relatively inexpensive.