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Tuesday, 12 August 2014 10:40

Chromebook sales to nearly triple by 2017 Featured

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Google's Chromebook might not be setting the consumer world on fire yet but its stocks are set to rise, with new research predicting sales of Chromebooks will reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a 79% increase from 2013,

By 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to nearly triple to reach 14.4 million units, with the main driver being the US education market, which currently accounts for nearly 85% of all sales.

And, of the 2.9 million Chromebooks sold during 2013, 82 % were sold in the US.

"Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014," said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner.

"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 said while Chromebooks are primarily used by the education sector, they will also have a place in businesses for specific workers, such as staff in banking, financial services, estate agents and hotel receptionists.

As we reported back in June Woolworths is undergoing a massive IT transformation, ridding its Windows fleet and replacing it with 8000 Chromebooks, with the help of Citrix.

"So far, businesses have looked at Chromebooks, but not bought many," said Ms. Durand. "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."

These devices also encourage more collaboration and sharing of content. As more users work collaboratively in the cloud, collaborative working practices are likely to become more common which may further increase the appeal of Chromebooks and similar devices.

Back in January iTWire writer David M Williams looked at whether the Chromebook could be used by business - read his impressions here.

In 2011, Samsung and Acer, very consumer-focused vendors, were the first vendors to invest in Chromebooks, and were the two dominant leaders in the market in 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 Durand.

By selling 1.7 million units in 2013, Samsung led the Chromebook market globally. It was especially dominant in the education market, Gartner said, having the most popular devices in primary and secondary schools. Acer, which had a 21.4 percent market share in 2013, designs Chromebooks with a consistent focus on delivering the best value for money. It uses Intel, rather than ARM-based, CPUs because its target consumers are price-sensitive.

HP was the No. 3 vendor, with a 6.8% share of Chromebook shipments, and Lenovo (which did not enter the market until last year) accounted for 6.7 percent of shipments in 2013.

"Chromebooks will remain a niche market during the next five years," Gartner said.

"To reach a wider audience, vendors need 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."

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