After posting five quarters of recurrent growth driven by accelerated buying for remote work and learning, global shipments of Chromebooks recorded their first decline since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
As per the preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, Chromebook shipments declined by 63.6% year-over-year (YoY) in the fourth quarter of 2021, but managed to grow 13.5% for the full calendar year.
The top five players of the global Chromebook market such as Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung, HP, etc., registered negative YoY growth due to continuous drop in demand for Chromebooks in primary markets including the US and Europe.
Even after attaining the numero uno spot by selling 1.3 million units and cornering a 26.3% share of the Chromebook market during Q4 2021, Acer numbers during this period declined by 43.3% vis-a-vis 2.2 million sold in the same period last year.
Dell came in at second with one million shipments and attained a 20.3% share in the Chromebook market during Q4 2021. However, its numbers dropped by 63.6% compared to their 2.7 million units of Chromebook recorded in Q4 2020.
With a 16.1% market share, Lenovo secured the third position by delivering 800,000 units of Chromebooks in the fourth quarter of 2021. However, the company’s numbers nosedived by 73.5% from 2.7 million units sold during the Q4 2020.
“Much of the initial demand for Chromebooks has been satiated in primary markets like the US and Europe and this has led to a slowdown in overall shipments. However, Chromebook demand in emerging markets has seen continued growth in the past year,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.
Supply has also been unusually tight for Chromebooks as component shortages have led vendors to prioritise Windows machines due to their higher price tags, further suppressing Chromebook shipments on a global scale, he further said.
Just like Chromebooks, Worldwide tablet shipments reached 46 million units during the fourth quarter of 2021 (4Q21), posting a decline for the second time since the pandemic began in 2020. Shipments declined 11.9% YoY in the fourth quarter of 2021 as demand slowed, as per IDC data.
The data also reveals that in 2021, total tablet shipments were up 3.2% YoY and reached 168.8 million units, the market’s highest level since 2016.
“Though 2021 was a great year for the tablet market, shipments have begun to decelerate as the market has moved past peak demand across many geographies,” said Anuroopa Nataraj, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.
“However, shipments in the near future will remain above pre-pandemic levels as virtual learning, remote work, and media consumption remain priorities for users.”