As distant education became the new normal in 2020, demand for Chromebooks rose to a record high.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Finaria, Chromebook shipments rose to 29.6 million units during the year. Compared to 2019, that was an impressive 74% year-over-year (YoY) growth.

In Q4 2020, the global Chromebook market set a personal best with 11.2 million unit sales. That marked a remarkable 287% YoY increase from Q4 2019.

The growth is expected to continue in 2021 as demand from a good number of markets for a 1:1 device to student ratio has yet to be met. TrendForce analysts project a 37% YoY growth in the number of shipments driving the annual total to over 40 million units by the end of 2021.

Beyond the education sector, there has also been an increased interest from the traditional commercial customers and consumers. They seek out Chromebooks due to their affordability and relative ease of maintenance.

Lenovo’s Q4 2020 Chromebook Shipments Grew by 1,766%

Based on a report by Canalys, HP had the highest unit shipments and market share of Chromebooks during the year. HP’s shipments totaled 9.4 million, up from 5.1 million in 2019, which is an increase of 83% YoY. That brought its market share to 31%, down from 35% in the previous year.

Lenovo was second with 6.8 million unit shipments, up from 1.7 million in 2019, marking a 287% YoY increase. Its market share shot up from 12% to 22%. In Q4 alone, Lenovo shipped 2.8 million units, 1,766% higher than Q4 2019.

Dell ranked third, having shipped 4.6 million units, 58% higher than 2019’s 2.9 million units. Its market share was 15%, down from 21% in 2019.

Samsung posted the highest growth, shipping 1.9 million units, up by 400% from 0.4 million in the previous year. That placed it in the fifth spot behind Acer, which sold 4.3 million units, up by 43% YoY. Samsung’s Q4 shipments of 1.0 million units, 630% higher than Q4 2019, threw Asus out of the top five.

Due to the spectacular growth of Chromebooks in 2020, the number of laptops using Microsoft Windows declined significantly. For the first time in history, Windows’ market share fell below 80%.

Chromebooks had a 14.8% market share, which is expected to grow to 18.5% in 2021. Windows’ market share, on the other hand, is expected to keep dropping, stabilizing at between 70% and 75%.

Chrome OS is projected to stabilize at a 15% to 20% share while Mac OS is set to drop below 10%.

Global PC and Tablet Shipments Soared by 17% to 458 Million Units

Like Chromebooks, tablets also ended the year 2020 on a high. Total shipments for the year hit 160.6 million, marking a 28% increase over 2019’s shipments. Q4 performance was particularly noteworthy as shipments hit an all-time high of 52.8 million units.

Apple dominated this market with 58.8 million shipments during the year, up by 24% YoY. Its market share, however, declined from 38% to 37%. Its Q4 2020 shipments totaled 19.2 units, up by 40% YoY, marking the company’s highest quarterly sales since Q4 2014.

Samsung came in second with 31.1 million unit shipments, up by 40% YoY, increasing its market share from 18% to 19%.

Huawei had a modest 8% YoY growth with 16.3 million unit sales while Amazon sold 15.9 million units, growing by 14% YoY. Lenovo had the highest growth in the top 5, soaring by 70% YoY to 14.2 million unit shipments.

The growth in tablet sales was attributed to the increased demand for easy access to computing power as well as their versatility. With varying forms, they can act as high-performance detachables, simple e-learning and content consumption slates.

For the global PC and tablet market, shipments grew by 17% in 2020 to 458.2 million units. That was the highest shipment volume since 2015. TrendForce’s annual shipment figure, which does not include tablets was 217 million units, was up by 8.6% YoY.

Lenovo took the top spot with 87 million unit shipments, a 19% market share and 19% YoY growth. Apple got the second spot with 81.4 million, an 18% market share and 23% growth compared to 2019.

With 67.8 million unit sales, HP came in third with a 15% piece of the market and a modest 7% YoY increase. Dell also posted single-digit growth, an uptick of 8% YoY to 50.5 million unit sales and an 11% market share.

Samsung had the highest growth of 48%, hitting 34.5 million shipments and an 8% share of the market.

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