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Amazon’s tablet shipments rose 5421%, while Apple is beating Microsoft

Amazon saw tablet shipments rise a whopping 5421.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, a new study shows, amid a sharp decline for the overall market.

The e-commerce giant shipped 2.2 million tablets in the first three months of 2016, compared to around 40,000 in the same time last year, helped by its low cost Fire tablet, according to the analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

"The low-cost Fire tablet is certainly not the first of its kind, but its success speaks to Amazon's prowess as a household brand and a distribution powerhouse," IDC said in a press release on Thursday.

But there is one major caveat.

"Though the year-over-year growth is an astronomical 5421.7 percent, it is important to note that Amazon's 1Q15 lineup featured a 6 inch tablet which was not counted by IDC as it did not meet the requirements of our taxonomy," the research firm said. The six inch tablet is the Amazon Fire HD 6 which was not counted as it did not meet IDC's requirements for a "tablet".

The Amazon Fire tablet
Beck Diefenbach | Reuters
The Amazon Fire tablet

Overall, global tablet shipments hit 39.6 million, a 14.7 percent decline from the 46.4 million in the first quarter of 2015.

So-called slate tablets continued to decline but still accounted for 87.6 percent of all shipments. The bright spot for the market was that 2-in-1 tablets or those with detachable keyboards like Apple's iPad Pro, experienced triple-digit year-over-year growth with shipments of more than 4.9 million units, a record high for the first quarter of a calendar year, according to IDC.

This 2-in-1 space is heating up. Apple released the iPad Pro last year, while Microsoft, which is credited with inventing the category, recently launched the Surface Book. Chinese firm Lenovo also has products in the category and Huawei entered the fray in February with the unveiling of the Mate Book.

And IDC says that Apple is beating Microsoft at its own game, for now.

"With the PC industry in decline, the detachable market stands to benefit as consumers and enterprises seek to replace their aging PCs with detachables," Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, said in a press release.

"Apple's recent foray into this segment has garnered them an impressive lead in the short term, although continued long-term success may prove challenging as a higher entry price point staves off consumers and iOS has yet to prove its enterprise-readiness, leaving plenty of room for Microsoft and their hardware partners to reestablish themselves."