Chromebooks are here to stay thanks to COVID, even though shipments crashed: IDC

Tablet sales tumble, too – except at Amazon

Chromebook shipments in Q2 2022 fell by 51.4 percent compared to the same period in 2021, according to analyst outfit IDC, but the slump does not reflect the reality that Google has built a sustainable niche for its browser-based hardware.

"While Chromebook shipments have trended down in the past few quarters, there's still opportunity to be had as the pandemic has brought about positive changes to Chrome adoption," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. One big change is that COVID—19 lockdowns saw schools accelerate their plans to provide one device for each student.

"This ratio will likely continue to hold in the future and even if PC shipments decline in other categories, Chrome will continue at these elevated levels," Ubrani said in commentary on preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.

That survey found Dell is the planet's leading purveyor of Chromebooks, with 25.5 percent market share and 1.5 million units shipped in Q2 2022. Acer held 22.6 percent of the market, ahead of Lenovo's 19.4 percent share and HP Inc's 15.6 percent. Samsung snuck into IDC's top five with 6.2 percent market share.

Total shipments of six million were markedly down from the 12.3 million from the same period in 2021, but IDC noted this year's number was still larger than Chromebook shipments before the COVID-19 pandemic and also reflects that existing inventory "is still being cleared out."

IDC's tracker also considered tablet computers – a market in which Q2 shipments grew by just 100,000 over 2021's 40.4 million devices.

Only Amazon.com improved its numbers. Its 5.5 million shipments represented 26.92 percent year on year growth, leaving it with 13.6 percent market share.

Apple remains atop the tablet market, but its 12.6 million shipments and 31 percent market share represented a 2.89 percent and one percent fall respectively.

Samsung's 7.3 million shipments earned it 18.1 percent market share and represented a 10.63 percent slip in shipments.

Lenovo accounted for 8.7 percent of the market and Huawei scored 5.3 percent.

Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, said the performance of the tablet market was driven by "continued demand for tablets as cheaper alternatives to PCs."

"Also, many top players have been doing a tremendous job with their distribution strategies and have been able to fully supply tablets for several education projects."

Nataraj was also excited by low-cost detachables that he's seen "from new entrants in regions like Asia/Pacific, that are tapping into the demand for devices for education purposes and disrupting the vendor dynamics."

So maybe that niche for Chromebooks isn't so well established, after all. ®

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