Tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to win what looks to be a shrinking market, once again shipping more tablets than any other maker in the third quarter.
Research firm IDC said that while worldwide Q3 tablet shipments plunged nearly 15% from the same period last year, Apple’s iPad shipments fell 6%. The company also retained its top spot among all tablet makers, shipping 9.3 million units, down from 9.9 million in the year-ago period. Samsung came in second place with 6.5 million units, but that number fell 20% from last year’s 8.1 million.
Apple’s iPad shipments in Q3 represents 21.5% of the global market share, with Samsung at 15.1%. Those numbers were at 19.6% and 16.0% last year, respectively, so Apple appears to be gaining on the competition, while Samsung lags a bit.
Apple’s numbers were somewhat bolstered by the launch of its higher-priced iPad pro tablets. That device isn’t appropriate for most consumers, however, which have been lured in by much lower priced tablets. According to IDC:
Low-cost (sub-$200) detachables also reached an all-time high as vendors like RCA flooded the market. “Unfortunately, many low-cost detachables also deliver a low-cost experience,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “The race to the bottom is something we have already experienced with slates and it may prove detrimental to the market in the long run as detachables could easily be seen as disposable devices rather than potential PC replacements.”
Amazon’s Fire tablets had an impressive showing in the period, reflecting consumers’ appetite for cheap tablets. The company shipped 3.1 million devices in Q3, up from just 0.8 million last year.
While overall Q3 shipments were down considerably from last year, they did gain 9.8% sequentially from the second quarter, as retailers stocked up in anticipation for a busy holiday season.
Apple shares were mostly flat in Monday morning trading. Year-to-date, AAPL has gained 8.04%, versus a 4.25% rise for the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.