Chromebooks Sales To Triple: Gartner
Gartner claim sales will reach 5.2 million units in 2014, up 79pc from 2013, and will nearly triple to 14.4 million units by 2017.
The report follows reports earlier this year of Woolworths moving to 15,000 staff to Acer Chromebooks, with up to 200,000 staff to follow, as Smarthouse reported.
Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner said: “Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014.
“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.”
Gartner reports that 85pc of demand for the 2.9 million Chromebooks sold in 2013 was driven by the US education sector, with 82pc of that number sold in North America.
Chromebooks are also bought for workers in banking, financial services, estate agents and hotel receptionists.
Ms Durand said: “So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many. 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.”
Chromebook are also encouraging “more collaboration and sharing of content”, increasing the appeal of collaborative working practices which “may further increase the appeal of Chromebooks and similar devices.”
Gartner says Samsung and Acer were the first PC vendors to invest in Chromebooks, and were the two dominant market leaders in 2013, with HP in No.3 spot and Lenovo No.4, although Lenovo did not start making Chromebooks until 2013.
“While there is less presence in the business market, and a limited product portfolio for midsize businesses, Chromebooks could open doors to the business market,” said Ms. Durand.
Gartner notes that Acer uses Intel processors in its Chromebooks as competitors use ARM, that HP was the only vendor to launch a Chromebook with a 14-inch screen and that Lenovo’s Chromebooks are very rugged, which is ideal for the education market, but runs the risk of disrupting Lenovo’s higher-margin ThinkPad asles.
While sales are set to nearly triple, Gartner warns that Chromebooks will “remain a niche market during the next five years”.
To reach a wider audience, Gartner advises vendors “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,” concluded Ms. Durand.
More information is available from Gartner’s paid report, “Competitive Landscape: Chromebooks, Worldwide.“