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US Commercial Chromebook Sales Up 250 Percent In First Half of 2014

Back of the Dell Chromebook 11.

Dell’s Chromebook is one of those aimed at education

US business-to-business (B2B) sales of Chromebooks have rocketed by 250 percent on last year, data recently revealed by research group NPD claims.

In the first five months of 2014 Chromebooks accounted for nearly 35 percent of all commercial channel notebook sales (an estimated 1.4 million). 

For the three weeks ending June 7 things were even better, with NPD noting a rise to 40 percent of all commercial channel sales.

The strong performance of hardware running Google’s cloud-centric OS so far this year is likely to continue throughout the upcoming ‘back-to-school’ period, which typically sees sales of notebooks boosted. Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis firm NPD Group notes this, adding:

“Chrome’s unit strength ahead of this year’s education buying season shows how it has become a legitimate third platform alongside Windows and Mac OS X and iOS,”

It’s not just cash-strapped students eyeing up google’s low-cost Chromebooks. Business and educational institutions are turning to the devices, seeing them as an affordable and competent alternative to traditional Windows laptops not only in unit price but in cost of maintenance and deployment as well.

Caveat Implorium Noticia

Encouraging as these latest stats are it is important to stress their limitations. NPD’s US B2B data only tracks a given number of businesses, resellers and distributors. What’s more, B2B figures only count units sold by one business directly to another business.

Such tracks might count a crate load of laptops sold by ASUS’ US distributor to a third-party wholesaler, or said wholesaler selling direct to a retail group buyer, etc.  They do not include sales made to individual consumers at retail.

Businesses, schools, governments and any other organisation that might buy Chrome devices in bulk — that’s what B2B sales tend to track.


An increase in device sales as a whole only paints part of the picture. An OEM breakdown for the same three-month period is also offered by NPD — and it makes for interesting reading.

In just one year, Samsung’s share of B2B sales in the US has tumbled by 40%. It drops from a commanding 88% in 2013 to a slimmer majority of 48% this year. The fall is likely down to faster, cheaper devices coming onto the market from the likes of Acer, Toshiba and Dell.


At the global consumer end the picture takes on a different tone, as we reported on previously. Here, Acer leapfrogs Samsung to be the most popular Chromebook brand (of the last three months). Dell, Lenovo and other OEMs command a healthier sounding 26% share of the market.

But can the good times last? Microsoft is partnering with several OEMs to launch cheap Windows 8 notebooks. These will go on sale towards the end of the year priced from as little as $200.

It will be interesting to see how – if – the near indomitable rise of Chrome OS is affected… 

  • Looks like Linux is going more and more mainstream.

    • Frederic MANSON

      I worked on all the OS and CPU systems. I do not agree that Chrome OS could be considered as a Linux OS (despite its kernel based on Linux). A true Linux laptop might be with a true Linux distro (Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Mint… and Puppy Linux – my prefered distro!!). Unfortunately, due to some “frictions” between the “communities”, a true Linux laptop ecosystem (hardware + software) is not for tomorrow nor for later… I think it’s time to stop the “fights” between the communities and between the distros, and to work on a single distro and on a simple hardware platform, with in mind, to release a true complete solution on the laptop (and desktop) market(s). IMO.

      • MrTrunky

        The “true Linux OS” doesn’t exist, linux is only a kernel. What you are talking about is GNU/Linux DEB/RPM based distros. Linux is more than that..

      • I was implying the kernel usage, not the distributions.

  • Cristian Otegui

    El apoyo de HP se hace notar. Como siempre digo, espero que las Chromebooks se vendan en Argentina.

  • Frederic MANSON

    It’s really good to see these good numbers. Despite what MS will do, a Windows laptop is always a laptop which need to be secured (virus), unstable (updates – mostly), CPU consuming (under 4 gigs, no salute). The good things are their local storage (it’s not in the philosophy of cloud storage and uses) and IPS screens – a true shame for the Chromebooks, only the “lowest” (HP 11 by Google) and the “highest” (Pixel) are equipped with!!! I bypass on the low local storage (32 gigs is the best, IMO) but I will not bypass on the screen!!!! Cheap IPS screens are available for the OEM!!! So, why such a “desert land”????

    • The day they make a Chromebook with IPS and anti-glare, I will get it in a heartbeat. I love IPS, but I can’t give up the anti-glare coating that they install on most Chromebooks, considering I usually work in highly lit areas. The HP 11 is actually not bad in comparison to the Samsung Chromebook Series 3 (the one I have). It has a better display and prettier design, so at least it’s better in that regard.

  • Smallwheels

    What I want to know is what are the actual retail sales numbers of Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices sold at retail in the USA compared to Windoz, Macs, and maybe even tablets running iOS. What we have here is the number of business to business sales. The other article about Acer selling more worldwide isn’t specific enough. It said nothing about US retail sales relative to other OSs.

    So Chrome OS is selling well in the business and school sectors. Such buying decisions affect over a million people but only a thousand or so people in total made those buying decisions. That says nothing about how the general public is accepting Chrome OS. I go to many news web sites and pop culture web sites and I never see ads for computers until Christmas time or back to school. Where are the Chromebook ads? How are people to learn about them if they must wait until they go to Walmart and start asking questions? I bet Best Buy isn’t pushing these low price machines over more expensive Windoz or Mac machines.

    • Stephen Voss

      How did people learn about apple computers…in schools. A kid uses a chromebook and tells their mom and dad about it.

      • Smallwheels

        I heard about Apple computers from TV ads in 2007. Those Get A Mac ads taught me that Apple computers were easy to use. The only other machines I remembered were Commodore 64 and Tandy’s Radio Shack TRS 80.

        In 2007 I was so frustrated with Windoz that I wanted to learn about Apple computers. So I went on forums and fan sites. Once I learned about their products I decided I wanted a Mac Mini. Unfortunately Apple rarely updates that model. It was in September 2008 that I finally gave up waiting for the newest Mini to come out and bought a Mac Book.

        I’m so glad that there are Chrome OS devices, Android machines, and GNU/Linux OSs out there. I mostly use GNU/Linux. I’m very happy that in Chrome 38 the HTML 5 DRM exists and Netflix can be watched natively now. I see no reason to ever buy another Windoz machine.

  • Joseph Dickson

    I used a netbook running Windows once. Once, it was a terrible bloated experience. Completely useless. That netbook is still around today running Manjaro.

    Chromebooks have nothing to fear of the ‘bingbook’

  • David Miller

    Acer are the best value for the money, and Samsung… no comment. My old C710 still has a 10590 result, according to Octane Test, that is twice better than Samsung Chromebook 2… Samsung always use ARM processor !! Get an Intel-based CB, it’s the best deal, and everything works with an Intel CPU.