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I suspect there are a fair number of people who bought DSLRs who didn't actually need anything more than a cheap point and shoot, but paid more than necessary just to have the bragging rights of having an expensive camera. They likely mostly just used the automatic modes that are common on recent DSLRs, and didn't actually care about the image quality or features too much. For them, any sufficiently expensive or popular gadget that can take photos will do, and tablets and smartphones can fulfill that need.
Also, buying such devices as tablets can cut into a person's overall tech budget, potentially causing them to put off buying other devices until later. Many DSLR camera owners likely don't feel the need to upgrade their camera every couple years. A lower-end DSLR from a few years ago should still produce excellent images today. This isn't like a decade ago, where the image quality of digital cameras was vastly improving each year. The average non-professional isn't really going to notice much difference in whether their camera has a 12 MP or 18 MP sensor, or whether it has slightly better low-light performance, or can shoot an extra fraction of a frame per second. At least, they won't care enough to justify spending many hundreds of dollars on a new camera. Tablets and smartphones, on the other hand, are still very much in their disposable phase, where the models of today are limited in ways that will make them feel obsolete within a couple years. Most non-professional photographers will be much more interested in spending money on replacing their perceptibly slow tablet or phone than a DSLR that's nearly on par with the current models. It's not so much that those devices are replacing DSLRs though, just that DSLRs have reached a point where many users could go five or more years without feeling the need to upgrade.
Couldn't agree more. It's actually a sign of technological maturity if people are hanging onto cameras longer and longer. I still have a film SLR that I bought used in high school (which means it's got to be upwards of 15 years old) that works perfectly well. A well-made DSLR with good features and optics should certainly last more than a year or two these days.