Google's Chromebooks saw a surge in sales in 2020, even outselling MacBook models, with Chrome OS sales reaching a 92% increase year-over-year. Now, market researchers discover a Chromebooks have suffered a steep decline.
The Chromebook market faced a "massive downturn" in Q3 2021, with a 37% year-on-year fall in shipments. While the laptop and PC market has also seen a 2% decrease in shipments, these are still above pre-coronavirus levels. Chromebooks, however, have now fallen back to a 9% share of laptop shipments — the same as what it was back in Q1 of 2020.
According to market analyst firm Canalys, the decline is due to major education markets have reached a "saturation point," and that funding for digital education programs is slowing down as educational facilities start to reopen. The demand for Chromebooks was expected to fall, seeing as they were mainly used for educational facilities.
“Chrome’s focus on the education market meant it was bound to slow down at some point,” said Canalys Research Analyst Brian Lynch. “Governments, education institutions, and households have invested heavily in Chromebooks for more than a year, and with so many students equipped with devices and schools returning to in-class learning, shipment volumes have fallen accordingly."
Market research company IDC further supports Canalys claims (via Ars Technica), stating that Chromebooks have seen a 29.8% decline compared to Q3 2020 due to the ease of pandemic restrictions.
Earlier this year, Google Product Manager Sanjay Nathwani claimed that Chromebooks launched by top laptop makers (e.g. Acer, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Dell and Samsung) are "being used in more than one-third of the countries all around the world." The surge in Chromebook sales appears to be coming to an end.
"We're working to make Chromebook-optimized apps more discoverable in the Google Play app," Nathwani said, promising that it will be easier for ChromeOS users to find the best-performing apps for their laptops.
Chromebooks are still among the most affordable laptops on the market today, with the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 leading the charge in our list of best Chromebooks.