Are Tablet PCs Still Relevant in Today’s Changing Device Landscape?

Tablet PC market outlook

The market for tablet PCs has been shrinking and it continues to shrink fast. During the fourth quarter of 2016, nearly 53 million tablets were shipped around the world, a decline of 20% compared to fourth quarter of 2015. Now that we have seen nine straight quarters of sales decline, is recovery in sight?

IDC and Gartner the two leading market research firms say that we need to wait till 2018 before seeing any recovery in the tablet market.

Positive growth is set to return in 2018 and continue through 2020 with shipments reaching 194.2 million tablets as detachable tablets continue to steal share from traditional PCs.” – IDC

Apple and Samsung are the two companies firmly in control of the tablet segment, controlling more than 40% of the market between them.

The shift in consumer preference towards detachable or hybrid tablets has hurt Apple and Samsung, as they both shipped 13.8 million tablets less in 2016 compared to the year before.

With tablet prices running into hundreds of dollars, that’s billions of dollars less for both these companies.

During the most recent quarter (Q1-17) Apple sold 13.081 million iPads for $5.533 billion in revenues.

The 19% decline in unit shipments compared to the previous year shaved off nearly $1.55 billion from Apple’s revenue column, and to make matters worse for Apple, IDC is forecasting a near flat market share for Apple and a decline for Android tablets as Windows-based tablets starts eating into the market.

Who would have thought we’d ever see Microsoft’s Surface family rising against all odds and growing in a very difficult market?

You can read the IDC forecast here.

So, 2017 looks like it will turn out to be a breathing period for the tablet market, if only to regain its bearing before it starts growing again the following year.

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