The Australian market for tablet and 2-in-1 took a massive hit in the first quarter of 2015, according to analyst IDC. However, there are apparently still signs of life despite the disappointing quarter.

IDC found 2015 Q1 shipments of tablets and 2-in-1s totalled 770,752 units in Australia - represents a 40 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline.

The analyst company said whilst a seasonal slump in Q1 is customary, the magnitude of this decline was steeper than expected. Shipment decline of 25 per cent year-on-year (YoY) further reinforced the reality of a slow-down in demand for this product category.

However, drilling down into the segments revealed some positive signs. Whilst consumer shipments declined by 27 per cent YoY, commercial shipments increased by a modest 1.2 per cent YoY.

IDC said mobile work-force such as field-police and hospital doctors could experience significant productivity benefit from using mobile devices. Tasmania police's pilot of Acer Iconia (2-in-1) was testimony to this statement. A total of 37 devices managed to save the police force 280 hours and $2600 over a period of six weeks.

Popularity of tablets and 2-in-1s is not restricted to the mobile workforce alone. Enterprise adoption of Microsoft Surface Pro 3 gained traction in 2015 Q1. Growth potential for small businesses is also high due to the recent Federal budget announcement, according to the analyst.

The asset tax write-off threshold increased from $1000 to $20,000, which expanded the wallet-size of the small business buyer. Although purchase is not restricted to technology, increased affordability and utility of mobile devices may drive uptake.

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"Opportunities that exist in the enterprise market are real and growing. The high-profile partnership between Apple and IBM is a strategic move to capture a slice of this pie,"IDC AUstralia market analyst, Joseph Hsiao, said.

"Android for Work is Google's attempt to break into the enterprise market. On top of that, there is the incumbent player Microsoft and their soon-to-be-released Windows 10. It will be interesting to see how the play unveils."

Apple and Samsung still dominate the Australian tablet market with a combined market share of over 75 per cent. Local vendor, Pendo, is struggling to sustain its outstanding performance from the second half of 2014, as competition is fierce in the low-price range devices.

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