Chromebooks remain popular

Chromebooks had a bumper 2014 but they’re set for an even better 2015, sales forecasters say. 

Industry analysts Gartner say the number of Chromebooks sold will rise 27 percent year on year in 2015 — meaning more than 7.3 million Chromebooks will be bought this year. 

Some 5.7 million Chromebooks were sold in 2014 they add, with buyers in North America making up 84 percent of worldwide sales.

Big numbers that sound impressive but Chromebooks still remain a small slice of the overall worldwide PC market pie (albeit the fastest growing one).

‘7.3 million Chromebooks will be bought in 2015’

To put the figures into perspective more than 72 million traditional PCs, e.g., laptops, desktops, all-in-ones (but excluding Chromebooks) were sold in the first part of this year alone according to Gartner.

Sales Will Be Much Lower Next Year

A curious part of this report — one that would be remiss of us not to notice — is the tentative forecast for Chromebook sales in 2016.

Based on current estimates gartner expects year-on-year sales to more than halve to 9.1 percent, with 7.9 million units sold in all.

Why the sudden slowdown? It may be caution on their part — the 2015 forecast is yet to be proven — but 7.9 million units falls some way short of their earlier expectation that Chromebooks would hit sales of 14.4 million by 2017.

Windows 10 may be set to shake things up more than initially expected. 

Chromebook Sales in 2014

‘Schools bought 72 percent of Chromebooks sold in 2014’

It’s easy to look at buoyant sales figures like these and assume that Joe Public has gone crazy for Chrome portables when the vast majority of Chromebooks are actually bought by schools.

And ‘vast majority’ isn’t hyperbole on my part. In 2014 72 percent of the 5.7 million Chromebooks sold were snapped up by the education sector, with the remainder of purchases being shared between businesses and consumers (folks like you and I).

Sales of Chromebooks to consumers were highest in North America last year. American Joes’ and Janes’ made up 39 percent of sales. Education scored 60 percent and business use sat at a lowly 1 percent.

The education sector ruled strongest in the EMEA region, which includes Europe and the Middle East, striking a high of  72 percent — but business adoption was the lowest in the world and barely registered at 1 percent.

Asia-Pacific had the largest business take-up of notebooks running the lightweight OS with a large 16.5 percent. Conversely, it has the lowest consumer adoption in the world at (a still not shabby) 15 percent. This was driven largely by tech savvy hoppers in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Acer Is Most Popular Chromebook Maker

Samsung’s exit from the European Chromebook market last year means Acer strengthened its lead as the top Chromebook seller in 2014, shifting more than 2 million devices in total.

Samsung retained second place (1.7 million units) while HP trailed third with a total 1 million units sold. ASUS was fourth.

With a slate of new Chromebooks launching this year, including the hotly anticipated ASUS Chromebook Flip and more sub-$150 ARM devices, it’s no surprise that sales are forecast to rise substantially.

But with a renewed and reinvigorated Windows 10 also on the way this summer there’s no room for complacency…

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