Year over year, the tablet market decreased by around 12.3% (as of the 2nd quarter of 2016). It is not entirely certain as to why tablets seem to be in decline, but there are at least two possible contributors.
Larger Phone Screens
The first, is the growth of screen size on cell phones. The average screen size of flagship phones (iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy S series) have been increasing, and many cell phones are available with a “plus” size offering an even larger screen. These phones are often referred to as “phablets”, a combination of “phone” and “tablet” but as these phones are becoming more and more common, they are now usually just accepted as regular phones. Customers are likely replacing tablets with simply buying larger phones.
The second contributor to the decline is likely detachable devices. Usually running Windows 10, these devices are not strictly tablets but have touchscreens and a detachable keyboard. These devices typically have much higher performance than a regular tablet, but come with a hefty price increase as compared to traditional tablets. These detachable devices have a lot more in common with laptops than tablets. I personally owned one of these for a few years, I rarely used the touchscreen but it was nice to be able to remove the keyboard if I wanted to watch a movie.
So, will tablets soon disappear from the market? It seems unlikely that they will vanish. True, their markets size is being squeezed by detachable devices and by phablets. However tablets still occupy a large market with over 38 million tablets sold in 2016. Most likely, tablets will be used less for personal use and will be used increasingly in business and education.