The decline of the worldwide tablet market is set to continue for the remainder of 2016 as year-over-year growth reaches an all-time low of -11.5% and shipments of 183.4 million units, according to forecast data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. 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.

“Appealing to the commercial audience will be key as detachable tablets aim to take a larger piece of the traditional PC market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “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.”

With the shift towards detachable tablets, IDC also expects small tablets to cede share to larger devices. In 2016, 55% of all tablets will be 9 inches or smaller. By 2020, however, this share is forecast to drop to 40%. “We see smaller slate tablets being offered at very aggressive price points, leaving little room for revenues outside of a pure volume or platform play like for Amazon for instance,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director at IDC, in a statement. “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.”

Although detachable tablets capture the spotlight, slate tablets will continue to account for the majority of shipments throughout the forecast. In 2016, 85% of all tablets shipped will be slates and this will decrease to 68% by 2020. Most of these will be destined for emerging markets where consumers seek out any low cost computing device.

IDC: Worldwide Tablet Share Forecast by OS 2015 - 2020

IDC: Worldwide Tablet Share Forecast by OS 2015 – 2020


Notes: Total tablet market includes slate tablets plus detachable tablets. References to “tablets” in this release include both slate tablets and detachable devices.

Source: International Data Corporation

MacDailyNews Take: IDC loves to make predictions, but they’re not always the most accurate:

IDC: Windows Phone will not surpass Apple’s iOS by 2018 – December 2, 2014
IDC: Windows Phone to surpass Apple’s iOS by 2016 – June 6, 2012
• IDC: Windows Phone to surpass Apple’s iOS by 2015 – June 10, 2011