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Demand for Chromebooks Surges as Tablets Make Only Modest Gains

The increased demand for lower-cost remote learning devices is helping to drive massive growth for Chromebooks this year, according to a new forecast from market research firm IDC. But the next few years won’t look so rosy.

According to IDC, Chromebooks will see shipments increase by 33.5 percent in 2021, with total shipments at 43.4 million units. Tablets, though, will only increase 1.8 percent, reaching 166.5 million units.

"Sales for tablets and Chromebooks greatly expanded in 2020 due to an unprecedented demand for remote working and learning solutions. This year the need for budget friendly yet versatile devices for hybrid working and learning solutions will be paramount and this will continue to drive demand for these devices," said Anuroopa Nataraj, research analyst with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, in a prepared statement. "Beyond 2021 both categories will continue to struggle as consumer and education demand is expected to slow. With the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, consumers will begin to increase spend on travel and other modes of entertainment, which in turn will impact growth in these devices."

After 2021, both Chromebooks and tablets are forecast to drop, though IDC is preducting Chromebooks will see a comeback in 2025.

"While 2021 will serve as a peak year for both tablets and Chromebooks there are still plenty of opportunities for each device category," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "Chromebooks are quickly proving themselves useful within workplaces and while they will not supplant Windows and Mac in these settings, they are expected to provide competition, particularly in job functions where high performance and legacy support isn't a priority. On the tablet side, detachable tablets will remain a bright spot as these devices are more PC-like than ever, both from a hardware and a software perspective."

For more information, visit IDC’s site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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