Apple iPad Pro
The Apple logo is seen behind new Apple iPad Pros on display during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9, 2015.REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Apple continued to be the undisputed leader in the worldwide tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2017 as the company's iPad models were shipped more than any other rival product during the three-month period, according to data published on Monday by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The Cupertino-based tech giant managed to maintain a solid lead in the holiday quarter, riding on the success of both its lower-priced 9.7-inch iPad as well as the newly refreshed iPad Pro products. Apple shipped 13.2 million iPads from October through December last year, accounting for a market share of 26.6 percent, according to the latest data from IDC. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the company shipped 13.1 million iPads and owned 24.3 percent of the worldwide tablet market.

The company's focus on the iPad Pro should continue in 2018 as the next version of the high-end iPad is also expected to get the Face ID support we see in the iPhone X. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said adding the new camera technology to the iPad Pro will not only introduce a user experience consistent with the iPhone X, but will also help boost the device's competitiveness.

Samsung, however, couldn't retain the second position as Amazon "was able to steal" it, thanks to the "steep discounts" the company offered during the holiday season. While the low-cost tablets did pretty well for Amazon's online storefront, the company's expansion into other markets across the world as well as the inclusion of Alexa voice assistant in the latest tablets also paid off.

Tablet market share Q4 2017
Market share and shipment numbers of the top 5 tablet companies in the world in Q4 2017.International Data Corporation

Amazon shipped 7.7 million tablets in Q4 2017, up 50.3 percent from the same period in 2016. The shipment growth also took the company's market share from 9.6 percent to 15.6 percent.

Samsung, meanwhile, shipped 7 million tablets during the fourth quarter of 2017, accounting for a market share of 14.1 percent. The company suffered a 13 percent annual decline as it managed to ship 8 million tablets in Q4 2016, owning a market share of 14.9 percent.

"Shipments of its detachable portfolio continue to rise, however these gains are outweighed by the declines seen among its slate models. As its lower-cost Tab A and E series is challenged by vendors promising better value, Samsung will face a particular challenge in upgrading its base to both a higher-priced and detachable device," IDC said.

Huawei and Lenovo rounded out the top five list with 7.1 percent and 6.2 percent market share, respectively. Overall, the 49.6 million tablets were shipped during the period, down 7.9 percent from 53.8 million from the last quarter of 2016.

However, when it comes to the entire year of 2017, Samsung (15.2 percent) was still at the second position after Apple (26.8 percent). Amazon (10.2 percent) made it to the third position, followed by Huawei (7.7 percent) and Lenovo (6.3 percent).

tablet vendors
Top 5 tablet vendors in the world in 2017.International Data Corporation