Comparing Chromebooks sales year-over-year is normally a fine metric to judge by. This past quarter, however, makes that comparison a tad bit odd. According to information from Canalys data, Chromebook shipments grew a staggering 275% when stacked side-by-side with data from Q1 of last year. In that quarter, there were a total of 3.198 million Chromebooks shipped. In Q1 of 2021, that number has ballooned up to 11.979 million shipped. That is insane growth.
Now, to apply a bit of perspective, we do have to talk about the fact that we’re comparing post-pandemic numbers to pre-pandemic numbers. As we all know, April and May of 2020 saw one of the biggest upticks in Chromebook purchases ever. Due to everyone beginning to work and learn from home, Chromebooks were selling like crazy and the after effects of COVID-19 saw Chromebooks finally becoming part of the normalized laptop conversation in education, enterprise and consumer sectors.
Now that we’ve settled down a bit from that, it looks like Chromebook sales are here to stay. Sure, 2021 has still been a work/learn from home sort of year, but the availability of Chromebooks has leveled out. It seems that even though there are plenty of devices to buy, the desire for them has not cooled off just yet.
Interestingly, HP had the largest percentage of that growth, seeing an increase from an 18.6% share up to a 36.4% share of the current market. In Q1 of 2020, HP shipped 595,000 Chromebooks and followed that up with a staggering 4.364 million units in the same quarter this year. Lenovo had nice growth as well, moving from 760,000 units shipped in Q1 2020 to 3.108 million in Q1 2021. Though they still don’t have a commanding presence in the Chromebook market, Samsung also made impressive moves from a 1.6% share to a respectable 10% share, upping their shipments from 51,000 in Q1 2020 to 1.2 million in Q1 2021.
Chromebooks are well and truly a mainstream computing product now. While the education sector still accounts for the majority of shipments, their popularity with consumers and traditional commercial customers has reached new heights over the course of the last year. HP and Lenovo dominate the Chromebook market, but the boom has been a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, allowing vendors such as Acer and Samsung to carve out substantial shares within the PC market by catering specifically to Chromebook demand. Google is now in a strong position to work with its OEM partners and the channel to cement a rosy future for Chromebooks. A substantial messaging and evangelization push coupled with the targeting of growth trends, such as flexible work arrangements and budget-conscious SMBs, will be vital to ensure the longevity of Chromebooks’ success.Brian Lynch, Canalys Research Analyst.