The pandemic has spurred massive growth in Chromebook shipments through 2020 and 2021, but analyst firm IDC predicts that 2022 and beyond will see a year-over-year drop in shipments.
According to IDC, Chromebook shipments are expected to grow 33.5% year-over-year in 2021 to 43.4 million units. But looking to the future, IDC predicts that the growth will fade away in 2022 and, in fact, decline until 2025.
Rival analyst Canalys announced in May that global Chromebook shipments in the first quarter of 2021 were up 275% in a market led by HP, Lenovo, Acer, Samsung and Dell. He noted that HP had 595,000 Chromebook shipments in the first quarter of 2020 and rose to 4.36 million in the same quarter of 2021.
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Sales of laptops in general have grown rapidly during the pandemic for remote work and schooling; Chromebooks in particular have proven to be popular for their relatively low prices and because they are primarily used in the home, where they are always connected to broadband.
IDC reports that in Q1 2020, Microsoft Windows PCs made up 87.5% of PCs, while Apple macOS and Chrome OS made up 5.8% and 5.3%, respectively. In the second quarter, Windows’ share fell to 81.7%, macOS to 7.6%, and Chrome OS soared to 10.0%.
IDC’s prediction is in line with doubts that Chromebook sales could continue to grow at the same rate as the past two years.
The company says tablets are expected to grow 1.8% in 2021 to 166.5 million units as consumer demand remains high.
IDC shelf numbers include slate shelves and removable shelves. Its Chromebook figures include laptops running Chrome OS.
“While 2021 will be a peak year for tablets and Chromebooks, there are still plenty of opportunities for every category of device,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.
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Chromebooks have found their way into the education market, especially in the United States, but Ubrani noted that they are also becoming useful in the workplace.
“While [Chromebooks] won’t supplant Windows and Mac in these settings, they are meant to provide competition, especially in functions where high performance and legacy support is not a priority. On the tablet side, detachable tablets will remain a positive point because these devices look more like PCs than ever, both from a hardware and software point of view, ”he said.