Worldwide tablet shipments declined by 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017, marking the tenth consecutive quarter in which the market contracted on a year-over-year basis. According to IDC’s preliminary estimates, a total of 36.2 million devices were shipped between January and March, the lowest number since the third quarter of 2012.
Despite the fact that the large majority of tablets shipped in the past quarter were Android-based, Apple remains the market leader by a significant margin. Having sold 8.9 million iPads in the quarter, the company's market share amounts to 24.6 percent. Samsung and Huawei shipped 6 and 2.7 million devices, respectively to secure second and third place in the troubled tablet market.
According to IDC, vendors see increasingly strong demand for tablets with detachable keyboards which are have become powerful enough for professional users. That growth however is not sufficient to offset the decline in "traditional" slate tablets, which saw saw shipments peak in 2014 and have declined ever since. IDC blames smartphones and "rather minimal technology and form factor progression" for the lack of consumer interest in the tablet category.
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