The tablet market will see a “slight rebound” in 2018 and beyond, driven by detachable tablet growth, according to IDC.

Worldwide tablet sales will decline this year, marking the second straight year of decreases, and the picture for 2017 also isn’t particularly rosy. But this will change as the detachable category picks up pace, increasing from 16 per cent of the market in 2016 to 31 per cent in 2020.

The company noted that tablet lifecycles have “proven to be more like PCs a few years back”, somewhere around four years.

With regard to detachables, IDC said that “tablet manufacturers, both large and small”, are moving into the segment, which has resulted in increased product offerings, lower average selling prices, and broader consumer awareness for the category.

Traditional PC manufacturers see it as a “natural extension of the PC market and perhaps assumed it would rightfully be theirs to capture”, while new players are entering from the slate tablet and smartphone space.

“One reason why the slate tablet market is experiencing a decline is because end-users don’t have a good enough reason to replace them, and that’s why productivity-centric devices like detachable tablets are considered replacement devices for high-end larger slate tablets,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for tablets, at IDC.

The study also said that despite “all of the negativity around slates”, more than 100 million will ship annually to the end of the forecast period. The main driver for this is the lower cost associated with smaller screen devices, which for many “still provides a fairly decent computing experience”, especially in emerging markets.