Chromebook Sales Grew 75 Percent in Q2

Posted on July 31, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Chrome OS, Chromebook, Hardware, Mobile with 18 Comments

The market researchers at Canalys reported this week that Chromebook sales grew an astonishing 75 percent in Q2 2021. By comparison, Canalys says that the overall PC industry grew at just 10 percent in the quarter.

“The success of Chromebooks is proving to be remarkably resilient,” Canalys research analyst Brian Lynch said. “[Its] growth streak has extended well beyond the height of the pandemic as [the platform has] cemented a healthy position across all end-user segments in the industry.”

According to Canalys, hardware makers sold 11.9 million Chromebooks in Q2 2021, up from 6.8 million units in the same quarter one year ago. HP was, again, the biggest seller of Chromebooks with 4.3 million units sold and 36.4 percent marketshare. Lenovo (2.6 million units, 21.6 percent market share), Acer (1.9 million, 15.7 percent), Dell (1.1 million, 9.4 percent), and Samsung (1 million, 9.2 percent) rounded out the top five. HP and Samsung both saw astonishing YOY growth of 115.7 percent and 324.4 percent, respectively.

Critics of Chromebooks often claim that the platform’s success is only education and/or limited to certain locales, like North America. But Canalys says that’s not the case: Governments are another big source of Chromebook sales, it claims. And Google, the platform’s owner, is “set to bet big on the commercial segment [e.g. the business market] this year.” That focus will include a lower-cost individual subscription for Google Workspace and promotions for CloudReady, the company and service that Google bought to help bring Chrome OS to old PCs.

Whatever the future holds, it’s pretty clear that Chromebooks, which now account for 10 percent to 13 percent of all PCs sold, depending on the data source, continue to outgrow the rest of the PC market. And if this platform is able to garner big audiences outside of education, it will continue to threaten Windows on the low-end, just as Macs do on the high-end.

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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Chromebook Sales Grew 75 Percent in Q2”

  1. bkkcanuck

    The thing that both Microsoft and Apple have to hang a hat on though -- is that although admin love them and teachers don't hate them - students hate them (or meh at most)... This means that after school, most of the students (the ones that would actually buy a PC or laptop)... are going to be potential customers of non-chromebooks...

    • curtisspendlove

      All the kids I know, except the ones that like to game, hate computers and laptops in general.


      And most of the ones that like to game prefer it on console.


      I had to show my 17 year old (15 at the time) how much more powerful my Windows gaming rig is than his Xbox.


      He still prefers his Xbox most of the time. And all his cousins play on consoles primarily.


      If they aren’t gaming or doing schoolwork, they are using their phones for everything.


      I have a niece who prefers to do all her schoolwork (in the google apps suite or whatever it is that her school uses) on her iPhone.


      Yes. She writes reports and such on her phone. Because she hates carrying around a laptop.


      I asked her if it was because it’s a Chromebook and if she’d prefer Windows. She just looked at me flatly and said “no…it’s because it’s a laptop”.


      I didn’t even ask her about a desktop. My brother-in-law says she hasn’t touched their desktop since she got her phone a few years ago.


      :: shrug ::


      Trying to decipher logic for teenagers gives me a headache. ;)

      • bettyblue

        Yeah I have seen high school student writing/dictating the papers on a IPhone with Google docs. They clean up the text that is wrong manually.

      • hrlngrv

        | Trying to decipher logic for teenagers gives me a headache.


        You and these teenagers start with different axioms. For you, power > convenience. The teenagers' preferences are the opposite.


        Nothing wrong with anyone's subjective preferences, but if one can't comprehend another's preferences, one can't understand their choices.


        Being a fat-fingered male almost certainly older than you, your niece's preference for her phone rather than at least a laptop-scale keyboard is only comprehensible for me as a purely intellectual exercise. OTOH, if she dictates into her phone and only uses its virtual keyboard for edits, then I can't find much fault with her preference. My father, a lawyer, couldn't live without his pocket tape recorder, though he had a secretary rather than a smartphone to convert it to ink on paper.

    • jason_e

      Once my kids got out of school they laughed at the idea of using a Chromebook. When they were in school I asked if they wanted a better Chromebook than what the school offered and they laughed and asked why...lol. Our school system finally dumped Chromebooks and went with Macs.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Students hating Chromebooks doesn't mean much if the devices that schools buy are horrible, low-end Chromebooks. They would/do hate similar PCs just as much. This is not an issue for individuals or businesses.

      • cavalier_eternal

        On the contrary, perception means a lot. My kid has a Chromebook issued by their school and hates it. Every time I have to help with it I want to throw it out a window. For the two of us it doesn’t matter that people claim there are better Chrombooks out there, neither of us would consider one based on your experience. Having millions of kids that have a negative perception of them is likely going to be an issue.

        • hrlngrv

          How much of the problems with your child's Chromebook are due to cheap hardware and how much due to INTENTIONAL restrictions on how the machine should be used? I can readily sympathize with needing to use an 11", 1366x768 screen with poor color rendering. I can sympathize with crappy keyboards. I can't sympathize with being unable to install outside/unapproved software or inability to visit sites not on the school's whitelist.

      • bkkcanuck

        Maybe true, but students coming out of school with a hate for the Chromebooks is not a win.

        • bettyblue

          Every kid I know that used them at School hated them.


          My 3 kids used them in grade school but when they went to private high School they got good Windows laptops and iPads. Plus a real IT staff and not some teacher pressed into Chromebook admin duty.


          Chromebooks are all about $$$$$ nothing else.

        • hrlngrv

          The question would be what do they hate about Chromebooks?


          Cheap hardware? Easily overcome.


          Restrictions on use? Windows PCs in schools wouldn't have had comparable restrictions?


          No games? See previous paragraph.


          How much do most children hate their parents for early bedtimes during childhood? Or curfews during teenage years?


          What software do you believe children in primary and secondary schools should be using but can't on Chromebooks? IOW, it's clear from your perspective Chromebooks bad. Make a case for how school-issued Windows PCs would be better while taking into account the school districts would likely prevent children from installing software, playing games, visiting non-whitelisted web sites.

      • christophercollins

        You are absolutely correct, Paul. I gave my daughter a Toshiba Chromebook 2 about 4 years ago to get used to. When the pandemic hit and her school finally bought Chromebooks, they were crap. She did all her homework on her machine instead of the junk the school system gave them.


        Her Chromebook is very old, but it had a real SSD (m.2 & upgradeable), and easily replaceable Trackpad. I am amazed how long that thing has been 'good'.


        Beyond that, I wish there were a way that Microsoft could limit what PC Makers can do. I had a guy at work bring me a new single core Celeron with 4 Gig of RAM and ECC flash. I actually had him return it and buy something better because it would have never done what he wanted.


        Many people that complain about Windows are really complaining about the crap, cheap hardware they bought... Not Windows.


        That's Mac OS' advantage. It gets liked not because it's great, but because it always ships on capable hardware.

    • hrlngrv

      The whole point to school-administered Chromebooks is that they be used entirely or nearly so for schoolwork. That means not being able to run offline games, not being able to use unapproved (non-whitelisted) web sites. Windows PCs for schools could be configured to be as restrictive (much more difficult to accomplish), and at that point kids would hate such school-issued Windows PCs just as much.


      Kids may hate the hardware or the restrictions, and Windows isn't immune from either.


      FWIW, my youngest child finished high school the school year before the district mandated Chromebooks. She's now in grad school using a Chromebook for her dissertation. And, no, that isn't particularly limiting in the humanities. For that matter, my oldest while still in school had access through Citrix Receiver to university-provided MatLAB and numerical programming and stats software, which means that software could have been accessed from a Chromebook.


      No question Windows is best for local, offline computing, but how necessary or beneficial is local, offline computing for primary and secondary education?

      • angusmatheson

        I have never used chrome books expect with my kids. I’ve always been interested in them for work where our main program is a web app - but are limited by two legacy programs - one could work in chrome it would just mean paying a subscription for what we already own. I think the statement that your daughter who didn’t use chrome books in school is now using one. I have long agreeed that kids who use junky chrome books in school will not want to use them in their personal and work lives - as opposed to the dominant narrative that kids will get used to chromebooks in school so will want to use them after. My oldest son hates his school chromebook with such a burning passion. But he does know how to use it. I do think chromebook (and all computer) sales are going to fall off a cliff next year - I hope all the companies involved can survive it.

  2. ebraiter

    Here's a thought. Someone uses a Chromebrick throughout their schooling. When it comes time go to a higher education [university] or even working, and they're stuck because they learned about using Chromebricks and not a Windows PC or a Mac where both are fairly common.

    My company where I work doesn't support Chromebricks. Just Windows, Linux [servers] and Macs. 70,000+ employees.

    If someone gave me a Chromebrick - because I wouldn't buy one, I'd put a real Linux distro on it.

    Only one person I know bought a Chromebrick. It was returned to the store.

  3. JH_Radio

    If the price is a concern, people would be better off buying refurb or open boxed rather than such low end hardware in my opinion. You can't do anything about what the school provides though, unless you skip it and buy your own.

  4. drakowski

    Thanks for the update---I run two separate six-figure businesses using a Chromebook and nothing else. Good thing I didn't realize how useless they were before I started. ;)

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