iPad sales in the consumer market are slowing down, but business-focused tablet shipments will grow, according to forecasts by Forrester.
The analyst house predicts that 580 million people will be using tablets across the globe by the end of this year. However, despite this strong user base, shipments of tablets were disappointing in the second quarter of 2015.
Sales of Apple's iPad, the world's most popular tablet, dropped by a significant 23 percent to 12.62 million in the second quarter compared with 16.35 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
J P Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, suggested that the reduction in iPad sales indicates that "all is not well in tablet-land".
The analyst blamed the slowdown in consumer sales to a disinclination to replace perfectly functional tablets, along with an absence of innovation in the market.
But the story is different in the business world, where companies are purchasing tablets for employees.
"Not all workers are desk-bound, and tablets are finding their way into the hands of many different types of worker," Gownder said.
Forrester's forecast shows that tablets bought by enterprises will make up 20 percent of the tablet market by 2018.
This is being driven by three principal factors. First is the number of tablet applications being developed specifically for use in the enterprise.
Gownder cited IBM's partnership with Apple in developing enterprise apps for iPad, Google's Android for Work apps, and Microsoft's work with the soon-to-be-released Windows 10, as examples of this development in action.
The second factor is employee demand for tablets. Forrester said that over half of workers who handle information use a tablet at least once a week.
Finally, workers are finding more ways to use tablets in different situations, such as waiting staff presenting menus in a restaurant or employees checking stock in a retail store, which is driving more demand for tablets in business.
Forrester predicted that providing tablets to the enterprise will become a new battle ground for the key players in the tablet hardware and software ecosystem, including Apple, Google and Microsoft.
This will boost the number of tablet users from 580 million in 2015 to 782 million in 2018, according to the firm.
Despite the market slowdown, recent research by Ofcom found that more than half of UK homes have a tablet.
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