Techaisle’s SMB research on Tablets, PCs and Smartphones usage has found that 28 percent of SMBs are aware of 2-in-1 PCs, and 15 percent are considering purchase in the next one year. Marketers have done a generally good job of building awareness which is highest at 73 percent within the 500-999 employee size businesses in the US. However, marketers have not succeeded in creating consideration to purchase from awareness within mid-market segments.
Globally there are 265 million mobile SMB employees who are telecommuting, traveling and/or using cloud-based services. The potential market is therefore massive. However, most SMB employees are already two-device users and are on their way to becoming a three-device user as they gain power of device choice, bringing personal experiences to work and vice-versa. The odds of a tablet and notebook both needing to be refreshed at the same time is low, and therefore it may be difficult to position a 2-in-1 PC as a replacement for either device. Nevertheless there are seven different potential market opportunity segments and each of these seven opportunity areas has scenarios in which 2-in-1 PCs might gain share – but each has its challenges.
The SMB survey data also indicates that general-purpose devices are losing ground to task-specific devices, a trend that would negatively impact middle-ground opportunity. Further, 2-in-1 PCs will likely be at a price disadvantage to Android PCs, which will begin targeting this same niche. PC OEMs will need to position the benefits of both the 2-in-1 PCs and their unique approach to these devices, while attempting to avoid the confusion that has hampered progress in the SMB market to date.
When we sift through the data on different perspectives on 2-in-1 PCs’ positives and negatives, we see that there are some core strengths to build upon, but that some design changes will be needed before these products can make a serious run at the endpoint device (PCs, Tablets, Smartphones) market’s middle ground. The moving parts needed to enable a 2-in-1 are also viewed as a drawback/potential point of failure for these products. And the overall diversity of approaches to enabling 2-in-1 functionality – ranging from detachable displays to Ferris wheel, flip/fold, swivel/twist and slider-based approaches – has confused the market. Too many options in the marketplace provide choice but also cause purchase inertia. This is a high-stakes issue for 2-in-1 PC OEMs and those with successful designs stand a much better chance of growing with the market than those whose designs are marginalized.
The aggregate opportunity for 2-in-1 PCs is compelling but there is no aggregate marketing strategy that will capture this opportunity. PC OEM marketers will need to align with the market opportunity segment that they can best develop, and ensure that their message and activity content is consistent with the conditions that govern the target area.
The 2-in-1 market is an attempt to fill a ‘middle ground’ that has been created by the trend towards multi-screen endpoint device strategies. Techaisle’s research shows a usage continuum of endpoints. On one side, there are desktop devices capable of creating content. At the other end of the spectrum, there are smartphones that lack the tools needed for content creation, but provide a lightweight, mobile option for content consumption. On this continuum, tablets are also primarily consumption devices, but can be used for light content creation, while laptops are capable of creating content, and can be used as a mobile consumption port. 2-in-1 devices are targeting the space between tablets and laptops. They are attempting to provide better creation options than are found with tablets, while offering a form factor better suited to consumption than is found with traditional laptop.
Techaisle believes that the key to 2-in-1 PC success within the SMB market will be the ability to articulate the benefits of the “middle ground” – the combination of consumption and creation that 2-in-1 PCs can address better than either tablets or traditional laptops.
More detailed data is available in Techaisle’s report titled “SMB End-Point Device Adoption Trends: Tablets, PCs, Smartphones” which covers:
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