The worldwide tablet market declined “yet again” in Q4 2015, although the picture for “detachable” devices is significantly different, according to figures from IDC.

65.9 million units shipped during the quarter, down 13.7 per cent year-on-year. Total shipments for the twelve months stood at 206.8 million units, down 10.1 per cent. However, the company said the market for detachable tablets “appears to be in full swing”, with Q4 shipments more than doubled over Q4 2014.

These devices are being seen as PC replacements, IDC said, and making this sector more attractive is the fact that “price is not the most important feature considered when acquiring a detachable – performance is”.

“Despite lukewarm reviews, the iPad Pro was the clear winner this season as it was the top selling detachable, surpassing notable entries from Microsoft and other PC vendors. It’s also important to note that the transition towards detachable tablets has presented positive opportunities for both Apple and Microsoft. However, Google’s recent foray into this space has been rather lacklustre as the Android platform will require a lot more refinement to achieve any measurable success,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC’s quarterly mobile device trackers.

While Apple maintained the top vendor spot, the company still faced a sharp year-on-year decline. But the launch of iPad Pro was able to curb the decline in iPad revenue as the mix shifted toward higher-priced devices.

Samsung took number two spot, although again this was accompanied by shipment declines. The research firm said that “Samsung is the vendor with the deepest tablet portfolio and manages to reach multiple price points and screen sizes, a position that will facilitate the transition to detachables in 2016”.

Amazon saw an increase in volume, after introducing a low-cost device which “piqued everyone’s interest”. IDC noted that the company’s success has been “purely based on price”, an advantage that is likely to be less pronounced beyond the Christmas holiday sales period.