Chromebook sales up 27 per cent to 7.3 million units: Gartner

Chromebook sales up 27 per cent to 7.3 million units: Gartner

Education sector major growth driver

Chromebooks on display at the Google Shop in London.

Chromebooks on display at the Google Shop in London.

Chromebook sales are set to reach 7.3 million units - up 27 per cent on last year - on the back of strong demand from the education sector.

According to Gartner, last year, the Chromebook market in APAC represented less than 3 per cent of global sales, with demand coming from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Some corporates have turned to Chromebooks, such as Woolworths, where it switched to Google apps and services.

However, demand is largely coming from the education sector, which represented 69 per cent of sales in APAC.

In Australia, education sales were largely attributed to a decision by the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta to use email, social media and a student lesson platform with the Google ecosystem. Students attending such schools are required to use Chromebooks in the classroom.

Globally education represented 72 per cent of the global Chromebook market in 2014.

Gartner analyst, Isabelle Durand, said since the first model launched in mid-2011, Google's Chromebook had seen success mainly in the education segment across all regions.

"In 2014, the education sector purchased 72 per cent of Chromebooks in EMEA, 69 per cent in Asia/Pacific, and 60 per cent in the US.

In the business segment, purchases of Chromebooks remain low despite interest from SMBs and vertical industries.

Google is increasingly targeting the business segment with its Chromebook for Work suite of office applications and has continuously improved access and functions by making more applications and services available offline.

Durand said Chromebook was a device that could be considered by SMBs or new startup companies that do not have the resources to invest too much in IT infrastructure.

"Chromebooks will become a valid device choice for employees as enterprises seek to provide simple, secure, low-cost and easy-to-manage access to new web applications and legacy systems, unless a specific application forces a Windows decision," she said.

According to Gartner, Google is gaining credibility and seeing success with Chromebooks in the consumer retail space, but has to improve brand awareness, especially outside the US market, where consumers who may be familiar with apps such as Google Docs do not know what a Chromebook is and what value it may bring.

Durand said the majority of Chromebook users were tech-savvy individuals who purchase one as a companion device to their primary notebook or desktop PC.

"Others are buying a Chromebook for the household to use as a second low-cost PC alternative," she said.

"The major factors that affect the adoption of Chromebooks by consumers remain the connectivity issue in emerging markets, but also the ability for users to understand and get used to cloud-based applications, and keep content in the cloud and ecosystem."

From a regional perspective, 84 per cent of Chromebooks were sold in North America in 2014, with the US market the largest single market in 2014.

EMEA, which represented 11 per cent of total sales of Chromebooks in 2014, is the secondary focus for vendors with Western Europe as the primary target.

After Samsung's decision to exit the European Chromebook market and focus on tablets, Acer took the lead to become the number one worldwide Chromebook vendor in 2014.

Acer sold more than 2 million units in 2014. Samsung held the number two position with 1.7 million units sold in 2014 and HP, a late entrant to the market, was ranked third, with one million units, thanks to its strong connection with education partners.

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Tags HPGoogleacerchromebookGartner analystIsabelle Durand

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