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Tablets on the rise as upgrades and enterprise demand increase

The future for sales of tablets is looking considerably brighter, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics which forecasts a reversal of fortunes and solid growth for tablets next year.

The research company says there is ‘immense’ opportunity for new and replacement sales of tablets, and it is predicting a reversal from a 4% decline in shipments in 2015 to 7% growth in 2016.

Strategy Analytics’ Tablets in a better shape for renewed growth in 2016 report says Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have refocused what the tablet can do and the market is now shaping up for growth.

The company says consumer surveys show that tablets and PCs are nearly equally desired among owners of both devices and, with more than 700 million of these devices beyond the midpoint of their lifecycles in 2015, the hard work put in by vendors like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung to redefine the tablet will bear fruit in 2016.

Fast growth in the early years, means large quantities of tablet will rapidly need upgrades due to old age in the next one to four years, the company says.

Meanwhile, new tablet sales opportunities outside of the consumer market are being boosted by the work being done and partnerships being forged by vendors such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and HP, focused on the needs of the enterprise.

Peter King, Strategy Analytics’ research director for tablet and touchscreen strategies service, says as replacement cycles have lengthened for both tablets and PCs in recent years, 2-in-1 detachable tablets have become affordable enough that they will compete for consumer spend of both products.

“A household could settle on a 2-in-1 tablet for casual use, which can also transform into a dockable mini workstation when needed for more intensive activities,” King says.

He says the existence of the ’11-inch or more’ tablet screen size category is ‘a great example’ of the expanding feature set and usage model of the tablet as it playing into the ‘prosumer’ and enterprise segments due to cost and functionality.

“Improved processor technologies from the likes of Intel, which enable tablets to be more powerful, thinner and lighter, are also driving the market,” King says.

Eric Smith, Strategy Analytics senior analyst for tablet and touchscreen strategies service, adds that reports of the impending release of the Surface Pro see Microsoft ‘leading the growing pack of professional grade tablets running Windows 10.

“The release of Windows 10 in July provided opportunities at the high-end to better position tablets against PCs on productivity needs and compatibility with the office setting,” Smith says.

“Opportunity abounds at the low-end as well, where whitebox vendors are already selling ultra low price tier 2-in-1 tablets to compete against low-end PCs and tablets for casual use, particularly well-suited in emerging markets for consumers new to the computing segment.

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