For years now the PC market has been steadily declining, as consumers have switched to smartphones, or have opted for hardware with a longer lifetime. But there’s one category that’s making major inroads into the market, with explosive growth: convertibles and detachable devices.
According to the latest data from IDC, which took into account Western European markets over the first quarter of this year, convertible PCs and detachable tablets have seen tremendous growth compared to last year. Combining the two categories, detachable tablets and convertible laptops, we see a growth rate of 44% over the previous year.
But that number quickly becomes a much more impressive rate of growth of over 190% when looking at detachable tablets only. Detachable tablets grew from 500,000 units during Q1 2015 to 1.5 million in this year’s first quarter. IDC defines detachable tablets as 2-in-1 devices, designed to function as a standalone slate/tablet as well as a clamshell device through the addition of a physical detachable keyboard, specifically designed for the given tablet. In other words, this is a very specific segment of the market, and wouldn’t include devices like the Lenovo Yoga or the HP Spectre, but it would include the Surface Pro 4.
If we take a look at the entire PC and tablet market, things are less rosy. Overall the market declined by 13.7% compared to the same period in 2015.
As expected, Microsoft is still leading this combined category with nearly 60% of all units shipped, showing growth in market share, though not in units shipped. The company’s foray into the market isn’t surprising with many of its OEMs creating and pushing convertible devices running Windows 10. Microsoft itself has focused on this market with its Surface line of tablets, as well as the new Surface Book laptop.
Android, bundled together with Chrome OS, comes in second place with around 26% of the market, while Apple is in a distant third at 15%. That being said, Android dominates tablet sales, including detachable ones, owning 60% of that market, while Windows barely clawed its way up to 13%.
Finally, IDC believes that while the overall trend for the PC market continues its downward spiral, sales for detachable tablets and convertibles will continue to soar before the end of the year as businesses and public institutions are just starting to deploy these devices.