Tuesday, 07 March 2017 09:29

Windows 2-in-1 hybrids drive modest tablet sales increase Featured


Sales of tablet devices continued to rebound in the second half of 2016 with 1.64 million units sold, according to the Telsyte Australian Tablet Market Study 2017.

The 2% half-on-half increase was largely due to convertible "2-in-1" Windows tablet sales which accounted for 27% of all devices sold. Windows has almost overtaken Android (29%) while Apple remains the market leader at 44%.

Telsyte is an Australian research company and its methodology is different to that adopted by IDC or GfK. It defines tablets as 7” or larger touchscreen devices that can either be used in a slate format (not requiring keyboard or mouse) or 2-in-1 devices like the Microsoft Surface (and other brand variants) with detachable or foldable keyboard, and tabletop (Microsoft Surface Studio), or reclinable desktop screens that provide a tablet form factor experience.

Data comes from many sources, including an on-line panel of 1060 Australian consumers (intent), an on-line survey of 302 enterprises, publicly available sell-out reports, interviews with mobile operators, vendors, retailers, and channel partners. In other words, it will differ from IDC or GfK sell-in or sell-out figures.

Telsyte estimates that Australian sales of Windows tablets grew around 60% half-on-half (2H 2016 vs 2H 2015). During the same period, Android tablet and iPad sales declined 13%, and 9% respectively. Convertible 2-in-1s led the charge, with the category now making up 30% of sales, up from 15% in 2H 2015. 

Telsyte tablet share H2 2016

The latest findings show that Australians are moving significantly away from sub-premium (or low-cost) tablets – less than 10% of tablets sold in 2H 2016 fall into this category. Telsyte says around 40% of Australians are willing to pay more for "top quality electronics" as digital devices become central to the consumer lifestyle.

Australian tablet users on average spend around two hours per day on their slates, with 80% of usage still being at home. The time spent on 2-in-1 tablets is more than three hours per day and more than 30% use them outside of home (business, education, etc.)

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said, “Tablets are no longer just about media consumption, touchscreen devices are revolutionising the creative experience.”

Tablets move beyond the handheld

Telsyte expects the introduction of the larger format, desktop touch computers, such as Microsoft’s Surface Studio, to boost an otherwise sluggish PC market which has struggled to give users a reason to upgrade. Telsyte estimates that the average replacement cycle for PCs in Australia has now grown to 4.7 years.

It believes Microsoft and its OEM partners will cater for different segments of this burgeoning market, developing both tabletop and desktop touch interfaces using Windows 10 in various form factors.

Telsyte estimates that by 2021, at least 10% of desktop PCs sold will have touch screen interfaces, with more pervasiveness expected as screen prices come down. Currently, large format touch screens are more closely aligned to creative professionals, businesses and high-end household budgets than the mainstream buyer.

Around 80% of the ICT decision makers in Australia and New Zealand surveyed by Telsyte indicated that they were already buying, or interested in purchasing, larger format touch screen computers for their organisation.

Tablets accessories boom despite device sales remaining flat

Despite a slowdown in tablet unit sales from the boom years of 2012 to 2013, the market for tablet-related accessories continues to be a profitable category for leading retailers. Telsyte research shows that 71% of tablet users have at some stage purchased some form of accessory for their device, with the top add-ons in 2016 being cases and keyboard-type covers. In addition, sales of pen input or stylus devices featured prominently for owners of 2-in-1 devices.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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