The tablet market has been in an apparent free fall in recent years, but according to the latest calculation by research firm IDC, we could be in for a rebound come 2018.
The tablet market in totality has peaked and will continue to decline in 2016 and 2017, IDC said, however growth is expected in 2018 and beyond due to rising sales of 2-in-1 devices, or tablets with detachable keyboards.
Right now the detachable category accounts for 16 percent of the market, but IDC expects it to reach 31 percent in 2020.
Many of IDC's recent predictions for the tablet market have said detachables will represent a growing portion of total tablet shipments. Apple, Google and Microsoft have already introduced detachable tablets to compete with PC makers such as Dell and HP. The transition to detachable tablets will also accelerate the growth of Windows and the much-needed turnaround for Apple's iPad device line, IDC said.
"The detachable tablet segment is also considered by some manufacturers, like Apple, as a way to spur replacement cycles of the existing slate tablet installed base," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC research director on Tablets. "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."
Speaking of slates, IDC still expects well over 100 million slate devices to ship annually through 2020. The main driver for this is likely Amazon's smaller screen Fire tablet, priced at $49.99, which has become synonymous with the low-end of the market.
In April, IDC said Amazon increased tablet shipments by an astronomical 5421.7 percent to claim the No. 3 spot on its list of top tablet vendors. The tech giant wasn't even included in the top five tablet vendors in the first quarter of 2015.