Chromebook demand raised to new record in COVID-19 pandemic

[German]In the coronavirus pandemic, demand for computer systems for homeschooling increased. The latest figures from Canalsys for Q4 2020 show a massive increase in Chromebook sales.


In the articled Canalys: Tablets and Chromebooks set all-time high shipment records in Q4 2020, Canalsys analysts released the figures for device sales in Q4 2020. For PC sales (including tablets), the last quarter in 2020 was marked by an absolute high. It was already the third quarter in 2020 where sales growth was identified – previously, the payment knew only one direction – declining PC sales. Here are some highlights:

  • PC and tablet shipments reached 143.7 million units in the fourth quarter, up 35% year-over-year.
  • Total shipments for 2020 rose 17% to 458.2 million units, the highest volume since 2015.
  • Lenovo led the market in Q4 and for the full year with 28.8 million and 87.0 million units shipped, respectively.
  • Thanks to a stellar performance in iPads, runner-up Apple caught up to Lenovo, shipping 26.4 million Macs and iPads in Q4 and 81.4 million units for the full year.

HP, Dell, and Samsung made up the rest of the top 5, each posting double-digit shipment growth in Q4 2020. Tablet PC shipments hit an all-time high for the full year 2020 at 52.8 million units, which totaled 160.6 million units and 28% growth over 2019.

Chromebooks at record high

Chromebooks hit a new record high of 11.2 million units in Q4 2020, a remarkable 287% growth over Q4 2019, bringing the 2020 total to 30.6 million units.

Chromebook- und Tabletverkäufe 4.Q. 2020
(Source: Canalys)

"Demand for Chromebooks is through the roof," said Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi. "With many countries forced to accelerate their digital education plans in the wake of additional lockdowns, schools and universities are demanding easy-to-implement solutions, and Google's digital education offerings are proving popular over competing platforms, particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe. As governments in many countries work toward a much-needed 1:1 device-to-student ratio, demand for Chromebooks in education is expected to remain strong through 2021. Outside of education, there is also growing interest from consumers and traditional commercial customers in Chromebooks to provide affordable continuity of business or personal computing."


I had reported the other day in the blog post Microsoft: Chromebooks are cheaper and faster than Windows machines that alarm bells were ringing at Microsoft about this. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Education Eran Megiddo admitted to the staff at an all-hands meeting that Chromebooks are gaining market share over Windows systems and are cheaper, faster as well as easier to manage, and that they need to do better in this area with their own products.

Apple dominates tablet PC market

Apple was able to further expand its dominance of the tablet market. Shipments increased by 40% to 19.2 million units in Q4 – the best iPad result since Q4 2014.

  • Samsung maintained second place in the market with 9.9 million tablets shipped, up 41% from Q4 2019.
  • Amazon climbed to third place due to strong demand during the holiday shopping season, shipping 6.5 million tablets.
  • Lenovo was the fastest growing vendor in Q4, increasing sales volume by 125% to 5.6 million devices.

Huawei was the only vendor in the top 5 to see a year-over-year decline in shipments. "The growth momentum of tablets shows how important easy access to computing has become in today's world," said Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt. "Their versatility, not only in terms of different form factors and price points, but also in terms of connectivity options, make them an ideal device for a variety of use cases, from basic tablet PCs for e-learning and content consumption to powerful detachables for productivity users who spend more of their time at home." As a result, manufacturers of such devices are trying to jump on the bandwagon and have announced new devices. 

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