Notebooks make a comeback as ‘boring’ tablets tank

Slate sales are expected to plunge 10% this year

There’s more doom and gloom for tablets, with the latest forecast from Deloitte showing that sales of slates are expected to be down 10% in 2017 compared to last year.

Deloitte’s crystal ball-gazers reckon that sales of tablets will slip to under 165 million units this year, which is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014. To say this shows that the market is struggling would be an understatement.

There were 230 million tablets shifted in 2014, which dropped to 208 million the following year, and then down to 182 million last year, with the number expected to dip to 165 million this year as mentioned.

There’s better news for desktop PCs though, which are expected to pretty much level off after some big declines in recent years – 103 million units were shifted last year, and that’s expected to only slip slightly to 99 million.

And laptops will perform even better staying steady at 152 million throughout 2017, the same figure achieved last year – which is certainly a good result (if it pans out, of course) in the current climate of an overall PC slump.

Attacked on two fronts

Deloitte has observed that youngsters these days are preferring laptops to tablets, and the fact that smartphones are getting more powerful and larger (phablets) means that slate sales are being attacked from both sides.

As the Telegraph reports, Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”

Convertible and detachable laptops are likely helping to drive notebooks forward, although Deloitte didn’t single these out for mention – however, just about every other analyst firm has been throwing about buoyant statistics for these sort of devices.

IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachables were gathering momentum – and the firm has previously said that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.