Amazon gains share in declining tablet market, Apple's iPad still No. 1

Tablets remain tweener devices as the overall market continues to shrink, but Amazon's aggressive hardware strategy is paying off.

In a declining tablet market, Amazon's is gaining market share with its set of Fire devices.

According to IDC, Amazon grew its market share 38.7 percent in the third quarter. Amazon ended the third quarter with 10.9 percent share, up from 7.5 percent a year ago. Amazon also shipped 4.4 million units in the third quarter, up from 3.1 million a year ago.

There were 40 million tablets shipped in the third quarter, down 5.4 percent from a year ago, said IDC.

IDC's standings highlight Amazon's aggressive hardware strategy. In addition to a barrage of Echo devices, Amazon has continued to release a series of tablet upgrades. In addition, Amazon pitched its 7-inch tablet for less than $30 during Prime Day.

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Amazon's hardware strategy is likely a loss leader, but the devices build long-term relationships with customers, fuel content sales and drive Prime subscriptions and e-commerce. Amazon's tablets have also become another vehicle for Alexa. See:

Apple remains the market leader as the iPad showed growth. Apple's third quarter market share was 25.8 percent in the third quarter, up from 21.9 percent a year ago.

On Apple's September quarter earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook touted iPad's double digit growth for the second quarter in a row. Apple said iPad sales were up 11 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Customers have responded very positively to the new iPad lineup. And with the launch of iOS 11, the iPad experience has become more powerful than ever with great new features for getting things done, like the new dock, files app, drag-and-drop, multitasking and more power than most PC notebooks.

See: Apple is getting better at selling iPads and Macs

Samsung unit shipments fell, but its market share was 15 percent.

Huawei and Lenovo duked it out for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots with other players representing 33 percent of the market.