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Apple iPad still king of retreating tablet market

Apple's global market share tumbles as tablet shipments continue to slide.


Apple's iPad retains its tablet market crown, but the market is still mired in a protracted declinee.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's iPad is still the best-selling tablet on the market, but it's a market that is still in decline.

Apple shipped 8.9 million iPads in the first quarter of 2017, giving it a 24.6 percent market share, researcher IDC reported Thursday. As impressive as that may sound, the total number of iPads shipped slipped 13 percent compared with the same period last year, giving Apple its 13th consecutive quarter of year-over-year shipment decline, IDC said.

Apple's decline was by far the greatest drop of any single company and reflects a global market that continues to grapple with declining consumer interest. Tablet shipments in the quarter totaled 36.2 million units, a decline of 8.5 percent over the first quarter of 2016 and the 10th consecutive quarter that tablets have experienced a decline over the same quarter a year earlier.

"The rate at which the tablet market grew from 2010 to 2013 was unlike many other consumer-oriented device markets we've seen before," Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, said in a statement. However, it appears for many reasons consumers became less eager to refresh these devices, or in some instances purchase them at all."

A main culprit is increased consumer interest in smartphones sporting larger screens, Reith said.

Other tablets fared better, at least not suffering the steep decline as Apple. Samsung came in at No. 2 in the market with a 16.5 percent market share on 6 million tablets shipped, representing an essentially flat quarter. No. 4 Amazon also had a flat quarter, shipping 2.2 million tablets to give it 6 percent of the tablet market. No. 5 Lenovo was close behind, grabbing 5.7 percent of the market on 2.1 million tablets shipped.

The only standout was No. 2 Huawei, which shipped 2.7 million tablets for a 7.4 percent piece of the market pie. That might not sound like much, but it represents a 35 percent increase over last year's quarter.

IDC's findings for the quarter:


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