2-in1 devices set to serve bitter pill to tablet manufacturers

The latest research from YouGov finds that the UK tablet market has stagnated over the last year, with 2-in-1s proving to be just as popular amongst so-called “tablet virgins” – people looking to buy such devices for the first time.

YouGov’s latest study finds that the tablet market has stalled over the past year, consistently showing that 55% of the adult population own the devices. Although 10% of the population plan to buy a tablet in the future, most of them (57%) are people who already own one of the devices and are either looking to buy a replacement one or an additional one.

While tablet penetration has stagnated, YouGov’s research points to a much brighter future for 2-in-1s – devices that combine a tablet screen and removable keyboard. While just 2% of the adult population (around 1 million) currently own a 2-in1, the study shows that 8% (around 4 million) are now in the market for one. Brands like Microsoft Surface, ASUS and Acer, the largest companies in this emerging market, all stand to benefit from this trend.

Crucially, 2-in-1s hold their own against their more established competition in terms of consideration among so-called “tablet virgins” – first time buyers those that own neither a 2-in-1 nor a tablet. This group (that own neither device) accounts for 44% of the population and represents the territory into which device manufactures have to make inroads if they are to increase market share. YouGov’s latest research shows that 8% of this group plan to get a 2-in-1, the same proportion that plan to get a tablet.

Russell Feldman, Director of Digital, Media and Technology at YouGov says: “Our research has shown a continued stagnation in the tablet market over the past year. While the number of tablets in circulation continues to increase this is because multiple device ownership means that the pool is getting deeper without ever getting any wider. Laptops do things – such as edit documents – that most tablet owners don’t do on their devices meaning they are never going to end laptops’ market dominance.

“Instead, I believe tablets are a stop-gap technology, like the minidisc, and should eventually be overtaken by a more comprehensive and feature rich-device like the 2-in-1. We spotted this trend last year when we noticed an increasing number of people creating “home-made hybrids” – creating 2-in-1s by adding a keyboard to a tablet and using it as they would a laptop. As more brands launch and market 2-in-1s to market I would expect the device’s market share to grow steadily over the next few years.”

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