Apple Expected to Be Top Tablet Company in 2017

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It is not the same as leading the huge smartphone market in sales worldwide, but Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) will hold that distinction among tablet manufacturers, with a full quarter of the market next year.

According to TrendForce, Apple will be leading a shrinking market:

The downward slide in tablet shipments has moderated during 2016 because Amazon’s and Huawei’s tablets have propped up the overall product sales despite the market headwinds. Global market research firm TrendForce estimates that global tablet shipments for 2016 will total around 154.5 million units, translating to an annual decline of 8.3%. Looking ahead to 2017, branded tablet vendors will adjust their product strategies and generate demand by releasing low-price devices. Hence, global shipments for 2017 are forecast to fall by just 5.3% annually to about 146.4 million units.

The research firm also expects Apple will need to take action to protect its piece of the market:

Amazon made a splash in the tablet market with extremely price-friendly products in 2015. Since then, Amazon’s tablet shipments rose sharply for two consecutive years, and its competitors have also shifted their focus on low-price models. TrendForce notebook analyst Anita Wang pointed out “To narrow Amazon’s lead in this particular segment, Apple will be introducing a more affordable 9.7-inch iPad device in the first quarter of 2017. While this low-price model is expected to be the main driver of iPad shipments for the entire year, whether it will be a hit with consumers remains to be seen.”

In Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter, iPad revenue was $4.3 billion of its total $6.9 billion. This was flat from the same quarter a year earlier.