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Sales of 2-in-1 devices to carry a sinking PC market in 2018: IDC

The research firm expects shipments of 2-in-1s, such as detachable tablets and convertible notebooks, to grow by more than 9 percent this year.

The market for personal computing devices remains in flux and global shipments are shrinking, but sales of detachable tablets and convertible notebooks -- commonly known as 2-in-1s -- are so far bucking the trend. 2-in-1 devices can function as laptops or tablets and have become a growing segment of the PC market over the last few years, while legacy form factor devices languish in a long-term decline.

The latest data from IDC's PC tracker projects that shipments of 2-in-1s will grow by more than 9 percent this year. Meanwhile, traditional PCs will see a decline of nearly 3 percent by the end of 2018 due to, as usual, lengthy refresh cycles and market saturation. Slate tablets, along with traditional notebooks and mobile workstations, share a similarly grim outlook with five-year CAGRs of -5.3 percent and -9.1 percent, respectively.

Despite the decline in shipments overall, IDC expects the market to grow 3.6 percent in terms of dollar value to $237.3 billion in 2018.

SEE ALSO: Dell shows off new Windows 10 2-in-1 Inspiron PCs and premium Chromebook at IFA

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IDC doesn't go into the vendor breakdown on this latest report, but PC makers HP, Lenovo, and Dell (among others) are all chasing growth in the 2-in-1 market as a way to boost sales. Detachable devices -- especially those aimed at business users -- tend to be more expensive, and they appeal to wider range of users looking for a more multifunctional machine.

"While the ramp of convertibles and detachables has been more crawl than run, the category on the whole continues to build momentum," said Linn Huang, research director Devices & Displays at IDC. "Strong form factor appeal, the continued growth of gaming, and even the ascent of Chromebook as a consumer device in North America will all play an important role in bolstering the critical holiday season that is looming."

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