According to IDC’s forecast, worldwide tablet shipments will drop to 195 million units in 2016, down 5.9 per cent from 2015.
Looking beyond 2016, IDC expects the overall market to return to positive growth - albeit single digit growth - but there will be a shift away from the basic form factor of the slate tablet towards detachable devices.
The hybrid product that brings together tablets and laptops has been gaining traction in sales over the past few years and IDC expects demand to continue to grow from 16.6 million shipments in 2015 to 63.8 million in 2020.
The change in demand from the traditional iPad style slate form factor to detachables will also bring demand for larger screen formats with the larger screen sizes (9-inches and above) experiencing the greater growth throughout the forecast, while the smaller screens - those under under 9 inches - will decline. Furthermore, Microsoft-based devices based on Windows 10 will start taking share from Android in particular.
"This momentous shift in form factor will bring along the first significant impact of Windows-based devices that the tablet market has seen," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. "Windows 10 seems to be making headway in both the PC and tablet markets, mainly driven by devices with larger screen sizes. Despite the free licensing on products under 9 inches the growth for Windows-based tablets will be primarily on devices with displays between 9 and 13 inches.
"Until we see a day where touch is introduced for Mac OS X and inroads are paved to bring Android and Chrome more closely aligned, we believe Windows remains the logical choice for detachable products."