A handful of vendors have been able to make the most of a shrinking tablet market, increasing their market share despite almost universal shipment declines, Strategy Analytics announced.

As a whole, the tablet market shrank by 10 per cent year-on-year in Q3 to 39.7 million units. The volume of devices powered by all of the key operating systems (iOS, Android and Windows) fell.

The only vendor to increase its shipments was number three-placed Huawei, which recorded an 18 per cent shipment growth to take it to 3.8 million units. Its market share increased to 9.5 per cent from 7.3 per cent.

Apple and Samsung, ranked first and second respectively, both increased their market shares despite declines in shipments. With the companies declining less quickly than the rest of the market, they managed to cement their positions at the top of the chart.

Eric Smith, director of connected computing at Strategy Analytics, said: “Putting aside the quarterly horse race for a moment, Apple has reached an interesting point as it truly aims to reshuffle the entire computing market with very powerful iPad Pros competing directly against its own notebooks and Windows-based ones.”

“In [a] way, this is congruent with what Microsoft and ARM are developing with power-efficient, connected ARM-based notebooks and detachable two-in-ones. In the end, this is all about making more money per unit and preparing for future demand for computing devices.”

Of the named vendors, Lenovo was the big loser in terms of market share and shipment declines (see chart, below, click to enlarge).

Android shipments fell to 24.3 million units in Q3, down 11 per cent year-on-year. It was noted many brand vendors are finding it difficult to compete in the wake of Apple lowering iPad prices. Amazon’s volume decreased by 12 per cent to 5.6 million units, with Strategy Analytics noting that 2017’s Prime Day promotion was more tablet-heavy.

A looming issue is how quickly devices powered by Google’s Chrome platform steal away Android buyers seeking more functionality.

Windows shipments of 5.7 million units were down 12 per cent, although Microsoft regained its leadership position in the two-in-one segment due to the launch of the low-cost Surface Go and a refreshed Surface Pro. While this was the third consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment and revenue growth for the computing giant, the same cannot be said for its OEM partners in the same segment.