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Strategy Analytics has forecast that the tablet market will bounce back into positive sales territory in 2016 following a year-on-year decline this year.Strategy expects that a 4 per cent year-on-year decline in shipments in 2015 will be followed by 7 per cent growth in 2016, noting that “there is immense opportunity for new and replacement sales of tablets”.

Tablets and PCs are nearly equally desired among owners of both devices, according to consumer surveys, Strategy stated, adding that it expects that “with over 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”.

Peter King, Strategy tablet & touchscreen strategies service research director noted that, amid lengthening replacement cycles for 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 commented.

“The existence of the ’11” or more’ tablet screen size category is a great example of the expanding feature set and usage model of the tablet as it plays 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.”

Eric Smith, Strategy tablet & touchscreen strategies service senior analyst, observed that Microsoft is leading an expanding catalogue of professional grade tablets running Windows 10 amid reports about the impending release of the Surface Pro 4.

“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 commented.

“Opportunity abounds at the low-end as well, where white box 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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