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In a recent report on the Personal Computer market, the IDC saw detachable tablets as a bright point in an otherwise somewhat stagnant PC market.
Of course simply describing the PC market stagnant is good news in itself, as it appears the dramatic shrinking of the market is now a thing of the past, and the IDC expects the market to be only 0.8% smaller in terms of unit volume in 2021.
For an industry built on growth that is probably not the best news however, but the good news is that the IDC expects a much more robust 21.2% growth in the Detachabe PC market to 56.1 million units by 2021.
The IDC did not see customers switching from PCs to tablets however, but more that users are outgrowing less functional tablets like the iPad for more versatile detachable PCs.
“Regardless of what marketers are saying, detachable tablets are simply not putting pressure on notebooks yet,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “Consumers are just starting to graduate from old, consumption-based, slate tablets to a more productive detachable tablet. At the same time, the benefits of having a thin, touch-sensitive, productivity-based machine is shining light on the traditional PC category, causing vendors and consumers to focus on more premium devices in the Convertible and Ultraslim space.”
The news is consistent with other reports as from Education Computing analysts FutureScope, who notes that Windows PCs and particular cheap detachables were taking over the Android tablet market, and other reports of Windows tablets gaining market share.
Looking ahead, the IDC expects the outlook for traditional PC shipments to improved somewhat due to better economic conditions as well as slower sales of competing devices such as tablets and smartphones. Adding in detachable tablets would raise 2021 shipments to more than 308 million units with a 2016-2021 CAGR of 1.8%. Juxtaposed against the struggles of mature form factors such as slates and desktops, continued innovations should lead notebooks to take a higher share in the overall personal computing landscape, up from 36% of the total PCD market in 2016 (barely ahead of slates) to being the dominant device by 2021 with nearly 39% share while slate tablet share declines to 26%. Detachable tablets are also expected to make further inroads, going from 4.9% in 2016 to 13.4% of the total PCD market by 2021.
“As the tablet market works through the challenges of a maturing user base, the notebook ecosystem has seen success in assimilating a more mobile experience to the form factor while retaining its inherent superiority in the content creation arena, which remains critical for commercial buyers. Absent major external forces, IDC believes the notebook and traditional PC market overall will see relatively stable volumes with some growth in more mobile designs offset by declines in less mobile products,” said Jay Chou, research manager, Worldwide Personal Computing Device Tracker.