While the tablet market is expected to experience its second straight year of declining shipments in 2016, these devices are projected to increase by 2018, according to a June 2 report from IDC.
This rebound in growth is likely to be fueled by the detachable tablet segment of the market, which currently accounts for just 16% of the global tablet market.
IDC projects that share would increase to 31% by 2020.
The current life cycle of a tablet is around four years -- a lifespan similar to that of PCs some years back. Right now, PC and tablet manufacturers find themselves competition for consumer dollars as awareness of detachable devices increases.
This has led to increased product offerings and lower average selling prices as tablet manufacturers large and small slowly shift focus toward the detachable tablet market segment.
"The detachable tablet segment is also considered by some manufacturers, like Apple, as a way to spur replacement cycles of the existing slate tablet installed base," Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC's research director for tablets, wrote in statement. "One reason why the slate tablet market is experiencing a decline is because end-users don't have a good enough reason to replace them, and that's why productivity-centric devices like detachable tablets are considered replacement devices for high-end larger slate tablets."
The share of Google Android-powered detachable tablets is forecast to rise from 12% in 2016 to 20% in 2020, while Apple iOS marketshare is expected to decline from the 38% it enjoys now to 29% in 2020.
The IDC report also noted worldwide marketshare for Windows-based tablets, which stood at 70% in 2015, is projected to fall to 49% this year. However, Microsoft's marketshare is expected to rebound to 51% by 2020.
In the slate tablet category, lower ASPs, smaller screens, and continued appeal in emerging markets are expected to help companies ship well over 100 million slates annually through 2020.
The IDC report noted slate tablets with screen sizes less than nine inches had an average selling price of $183 in 2015. The company expects this to decline to $157 in 2020.
Android's share of the slate tablet market is expected to hold steady at 75% between 2016 and 2020, while iOS marketshare is expected to decline 1%, to 21% by 2020. In the same period Windows-based slate tablets are expected to gain a point, bringing their total marketshare up to 4%.
"It wasn't long ago the industry talked about one PC per person and to some extent that theory has vanished," Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, wrote in a statement.
"I'd rather look at it and say the PC we were referencing six to eight years ago has changed, drastically. In many emerging markets the only computing device for many will be a mobile device, whether that is a small screen tablet, smartphone, or both. This is the main reason why, despite all the hype that the detachable category receives, we believe cheaper slate tablets fill an important void."Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio