Sales of Chromebooks will reach 5.2 million units in 2014 according to Gartner, Inc. which says that the figure represents a 79 percent increase from 2013.
A Chromebook is a mobile computing device that runs Google Chrome OS and mainly uses the cloud for storage, Gartner says adding that by 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to nearly triple to reach 14.4 million units.
“Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. “Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities. They launched Chromebooks to revive interest in sub-$300 portable PCs once the netbook bubble had burst.”
While Chromebooks are primarily used by the education sector, they will also have a place in businesses for specific workers, such as staff in banking, financial services, estate agents and hotel receptionists. “So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many,” said Ms. Durand. “By adopting Chromebooks and cloud computing, businesses can benefit; they can shift their focus from managing devices to managing something much more important — their data.”
Samsung and Acer were the first vendors to invest in Chromebooks in 2011. They were the two dominant leaders in the market in 2013. Samsung led the Chromebook market globally, selling 1.7 million units in 2013, representing 64.9 percent of the market. Acer had a 21.4 percent market share in 2013. HP was the No. 3 vendor, with a 6.8 percent share of Chromebook shipments and Lenovo accounted for 6.7 percent of shipments in 2013. HP was the only vendor to launch a Chromebook with a 14-inch screen.
According to Gartner, Chromebooks will remain a niche market during the next five years. To reach a wider audience, vendors need to offer better features that address cloud-based usage patterns: faster connectivity, faster memory access, faster and larger solid-state drives, and strong user support in the education, business and consumer segments. “Making a competitive Chromebook is not just a matter of hardware and price; what is most important is to show how the device’s cloud-based architecture provides genuine advantages to users,” said Ms. Durand.