Published: August 30th, 2016

The future is looking bright for Windows-based tablets and the channel partners who deal in them. According to IDC’s “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker,” Microsoft’s mobile operating system is bouncing back in a big way and is kicking off a growth spurt.

IDC’s research noted the continuing decline of the tablet market, but the percentage of Windows tablets on the market is growing. In 2015, Windows-based tablets accounted for 8.6 per cent of the market, but that number is expected to grow to 11.3 per cent this year and to 19.3 per cent in 2020.

As Windows tablets increase their market share, IDC expects Apple’s iOS market share to stay about steady and Android tablets to decline slightly. In 2015, iOS tablets accounted for 23.9 per cent of the market. In 2016, it’s expected to decline slightly to 22.4 per cent and be at 22.9 per cent in 2020. As for Android, it’s on a steady decline. In 2015, Android made up 67.4 per cent of the market. This year, it’s expected to capture 66.2 per cent of the tablet market. By 2020, Android-based tablets are expected to still maintain a dominant position, but drop to 57.8 per cent of the total market.

“Appealing to the commercial audience will be key as detachable tablets aim to take a larger piece of the traditional PC market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker, in a statement. “Windows and iOS already have solid detachable offerings and with the latest version of Android, Google will also have a horse in the race as they finally offer better multitasking support and added security features.”

Additionally, with more people buying detachable tablets, IDC expects small tablets to lose market share to larger devices. This year, tablets with nine-inch screens or smaller will account for 55 per cent of shipments, but IDC believes that number will drop to 40 per cent by 2020.

“We see smaller slate tablets being offered at very aggressive price points, leaving little room for revenues outside of a pure volume or platform play like for Amazon for instance,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director at IDC, in a statement. “The price pressure combined with a healthier demand on larger screen sizes and detachable tablets will eventually result in an increased portfolio offering from tablet and PC manufacturers.”

Slate tablets will account for 85 per cent of shipped units this year, but that number will drop to 68 per cent by 2020, IDC predicted. However, most of those will be shipped to emerging markets where the lowest price is more critical.