Research firm Gartner says Chromebook sales will reach 14.4 million units by 2017, nearly tripling the current market size. And part of the reason for that growth is the slowing PC market.
“Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014,” Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, wrote in a new report published Monday. “Now that the PC market is no longer growing strongly, vendors are searching for new business opportunities.”
Most of the Chromebook sales last year came from the education sector, the report noted, accounting for almost 85% of total sales. Also, 82% of its customers were from North America, showing there’s plenty of opportunities outside of the U.S.
The report also said Chromebooks could see a huge bump in enterprise demand, as it functions well in specific business settings, such as in banking, financial services, and real estate. Its cloud-based software encourages more collaboration, content sharing, and data analysis, making it more appealing to businesses, the report said.
“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,” Durand wrote.
Samsung is by far the leader in Chromebook sales, accounting for 64.9% of the market globally. Acer had the second-highest market share at 21.4%, followed by HP and Lenovo, which each owned 6.8% and 6.7% of the market, respectively.
Despite its positive outlook, Durand said Chromebooks will need another five years to reach a wider audience, and get out of the niche market. It’s up to the manufacturers to come up with better features and products that really meet the needs of consumers, the report concluded.
“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,” Durand said.
Chromebooks are continuing to grow in popularity for their low cost and simple maintenance.
In its latest earnings call, Google said it sold more than 1 million Chromebooks in the last quarter alone. That’s a huge increase from 2013, when it sold 2.1 million units all year.
It was also the best-selling laptop on Amazon during the last holiday season. However, Google’s not making any money off Chromebook sales because they’re giving vendors the Chrome operating system for free.
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