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​Tablet market tumbles, but 2-in-1 devices offer bright spots of growth

​Tablet market tumbles, but 2-in-1 devices offer bright spots of growth

“2-in-1 detachable tablets have reached an inflection point in 2015..."

The global tablet market ended 2015 with its worst year-on-year performance ever, with shipments falling 11 percent to 69.9 million units during the fourth quarter, dropping eight percent to 224.3 million units for the full year of 2015.

According to Strategy Analytics, bright spots in the tablet market continued to be in the 2-in-1 tablet and Windows tablet segments while traditional slates continued their downward slide.

“Apple suffered big setbacks this year as a lack of innovation during the last several years caught up to iPad sales,” says Peter King, Research Director, Tablet and Touchscreen Strategies, Strategy Analytics.

“Instead, Apple has focused on its MacBooks, iPhone 6/6+, and Apple Watch releases.

“The launch of the iPad Pro failed to meet expectations during the quarter.

“While we see real long-term potential for iPad Pro in the enterprise and verticals, there was not enough demand to move the needle in Q4.”

Findings show that 2-in-1 tablet shipments grew at a 379 percent year-on-year growth rate in 2015 while traditional slate shipments fell 11 percent during the same period.

Although 2015 growth has been explosive for 2-in-1 tablets, it is on top of a small base and cannot make a major directional difference for the wider tablet market yet.

Similarly, Windows Tablet shipments grew by 59 percent year-on-year in 2015.

Meanwhile, Android fell seven percent and iOS dropped the most at 22 percent during the same period.

“2-in-1 detachable tablets have reached an inflection point in 2015 as computing needs continue to trend more and more mobile and tablets with Windows 10 can compete against iOS in the premium and high price bands and equally well against Android in the mid and lower price bands,” adds Eric Smith, Senior Analyst, Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies, Strategy Analytics.

“The Q4 2015 launch of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book was met with many "Surface clones" by Microsoft's OEM partners at lower price points.

“This variety of devices will bolster momentum of Windows Tablets going forward.”

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