While the Covid-19 pandemic greatly boosted Chromebook sales last year, the trend may continue in the future.
In Q4 2020, Chrome OS captured 14.4% of the computer market - including desktops, laptops and tablets - compared to 7.7% for MacOS. (Photo credit: IDG)
A lot of users have had Chromebooks in the past year. So much so that Chrome OS from Google now ranks second among most popular operating systems in the PC space, easily surpassingIt is only the MacOS operating system from Apple. A trend confirmed by data from IDC and Strategy Analytics (SA). The latter reported that Chromebooks outperformed MacBooks in 2020, especially in the fourth quarter. The research firm IDC, whose analysis includes desktop computers, arrives with similar results. Finally, according to data compiled by analyst firm Canalys, total global Chromebook shipments nearly quadrupled in 2020, reaching 11.2 million units, up from just 2.9 million in 2019.
Chrome OS share of notebooks drops from 10% to 15%
As for notebooks, the trend is not new. Already in 2019, Strategy Analytics reported that Chrome OS's market share per unit sold reached 10.5%, compared to 9.1% for MacOS. Except that in 2020 those numbers exploded: Chrome OS accounted for 14.9% of all notebooks sold in 2020, against 8.7% for MacOS. On the other hand, the market share of Windows, in number of units sold, increased from 78.9% in 2019 to 75.2% in 2020. Still according to Strategy Analytics, during the fourth quarter of 2020, sales machines running Chrome OS hit a new high: 16.4% of all units sold, compared to 9.1% for MacOS and 73.3% for Windows.
“The demand for Chromebooks has reached summits ”, declared at the beginning of February, the director of research of Canalys, Rushabh Doshi. “Many countries were forced to speed up the move to distance education because of the new lockdown measures, and schools and universities needed solutions that were easy to deploy. Additionally, Google's digital offerings for education are already quite popular in education, compared to competing platforms, especially in the United States and Western Europe. ”
Chrome OS is also required on PCs fromdesktop and tablets
This trend has spread to the PC market in general, partly because of the disproportionate demand for notebooks during the pandemic. During the first quarter of 2020 (therefore, before the pandemic), Apple's macOS operating system had conquered 5.8% of the market, all computers combined, Chrome OS only capturing 5.3% . But in the fourth quarter of that same year, Chrome OS captured 14.4% of the computer market - including desktops, laptops and tablets - compared to 7.7% for MacOS. These results were provided by IDC, which provided GeekWire with specific numbers by operating system. Interestingly, the major Chromebook sellers weren't necessarily the biggest PC sellers, nor do they include Google. In the fourth quarter of 2020, manufacturer Lenovo led global PC sales, followed by Apple, HP, Dell and Samsung. In the Chromebook market, HP outperformed all other sellers, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Acer and Samsung.
These results show that parents of children, forced into distance education because of pandemic, have invested more than in the past in inexpensive Chromebooks. This choice of hardware gives more weight to the improvements and new features that Google is adding to Google Meet and Classroom. It also helps to better understand what Microsoft is trying to do with Windows 10X. Online education relies on simple and inexpensive tools sufficient to meet these needs. For the moment, the pendulum seems to be tilting towards the Chromebooks.