The boom days are over for Chromebooks. Instead, demand for the Google-powered laptops has dropped off a cliff, according to research firm IDC.
The plummeting shipments prompted IDC analyst Ryan Reith to tweet: “Chromebook shipments crashed!” In total, vendors only shipped 5.1 million units in Q1, down from 13.1 million from the previous year. HP saw the biggest dive in shipments.
The numbers represent a huge reversal from 2020 when Google Chromebooks saw record growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused schools to buy up the affordable laptops in droves for virtual learning. However, demand for Chromebooks began to dry up in the middle of last year after both schools and governments blew out their budgets trying to supply computers for remote learning and work.
On Friday, IDC noted the market for Chromebooks remains saturated in mature markets such as the US. The only growth for the Google-powered laptops has been occurring in the Asia-Pacific region, where several large investments in digital education are being made.
“The decline in Chromebooks doesn’t come as a surprise given the buildup of inventory due to reduced demand over the past several quarters,” said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani. “Barring any major shifts in supply, we do anticipate the inventory to clear out with the help of promotional activity over the course of the coming months and new shipments will start to pick up as the educational buying cycle begins to ramp up again.”
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Reith added that PC vendors are also focused on shipping Windows 11 PCs, citing “on-going supply chain shortages and logistical cost increases.” Because Chromebooks are so affordable, PC vendors generally make little profit from them. Windows laptops can fetch $1,000 to $2,000 or more, making them far more lucrative, especially as the industry faces inflationary pressures.
Still, if you’re in the market for a Chromebook, IDC suggests that vendors will try to discount the products to help clear out inventory. So perhaps, you can find some good deals.
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