back to article Chromebook boom won’t outlive COVID-19 pandemic, says IDC

Chromebook sales will continue to boom in 2021, but as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes punters will decide they have more exciting ways to spend their money. So says analyst firm IDC, in a forecast issued as part of its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. The analyst outfit predicts that Chromebook sales will …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A miracle they can sell at all....

    ...we all remember the days when the world was 97% Windows. Selling 50 million non-Windows laptops is pretty remarkable, really. The world has changed!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A miracle they can sell at all....

      And about time too. The only thing that motivates Microsoft to improve their products is healthy competition.

  2. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Well duh

    There was a huge bump during the pandemic because everybody find that they needed to buy one. There's no reason to think they would still believe they need to buy one after the pandemic. Didn't high-end laptops also see a bump last year?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Well duh

      My expensive research report is also forecasting a drop in mask sales in 2022.

  3. hammarbtyp

    For a long time I was ambivalent on Chromebooks. I mean a low power PC clone, which relied on being online most of the time, whats teh point of that.

    Then my daughter wanted a laptop she could take to school. It was either a laptop of a chromebook, so I thought what the hell, go for a chromebook.

    I'm glad I did. The form factor is perfect for travelling to school, and having no spinning rust means they are robust. The OS starts instantly, and I don't have to worry about AV protection and constant updates. As laptops are generally used by the majority of people to browse the web and write a few documents,run zoom etc ,there is little loss of functionality

    My daughters normal laptop has virtually never been turned on once she got the chromebook. Personally I cannot see the point in spending 100's more on a fully featured laptop unless you have a niche requirement so rather than the world moving back when the crisis are over, I think a lot of people have found they do not need to spend the extra money for power and functionality they never use

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It depends, do you use your laptop mostly for web browsing, watching youtube and a bit of office365 / google docs?

      Or is it mostly used for CUDA based protein folding model development and doing the visual effects for your new 4k blockbuster, like all the people sitting in the window in Starbucks - then of course you need a 'real' laptop

    2. archie99

      It is not just kids that benefit from Chromebooks. The elderly, some of whom get very confused with operating system updates, viruses, etc. find ordinary laptops a minefield and need help all the time to keep it spinning. Chromebooks are a simple concept, turn on, browse facebook to keep up with the family news, messenger or hangouts to keep in touch via videoconf. Docs for the occasional document and a battery that means they don't have to charge every 5 minutes. My IT support time for my parents has reduced signficantly!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >The elderly, some of whom get very confused with operating system updates, viruses, etc.

        Or young people that seem to need some sort of gui to operate their computers and have no idea how to toggle a bootloader on a front panel, edit a config.sys put a VAX cluster together

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      I think a few of your compliments are a little generic.

      "The form factor is perfect for travelling to school,": Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the form factor the same as a laptop running anything else? We're not comparing it to a gaming laptop or something. Most cheap and thin laptops are basically the same form factor.

      "and having no spinning rust means they are robust.": Yeah, mechanical hard drives aren't very common on new laptop purchases anymore. Sure, there will be a few out there which think having a bigger disk looks better than a tiny SSD, but most laptops including the cheap ones have found cheap SSDs. It's not all that unique for Chromebooks.

      "The OS starts instantly,": I'm not sure if that matters very much given that most OSes start pretty fast on modern CPUs and SSDs and a lot of people just put the machine to sleep instead of shutting it down, but it probably does start faster.

      "and I don't have to worry about AV protection and constant updates.": This one is very true though.

  4. trevorde Silver badge

    2021 will be the year...

    ... of the ChromeOS desktop!

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I believe in the US Chromebooks are very popular in education, where as over in the UK Microsoft have gone all out to basically give away software for free to schools to keep Chromebooks out. So UK kids come out of school tied into the Windows and Office ecosystem.

    1. Chz

      I can't comment on secondary level education, but all the primaries in our London Borough have bought a huge number of Chromebooks in case of another closure. They're real bottom of the barrel stuff, though. The one I'd already bought my wee'un was all of £50 more, but at the prices these things sell at that represents a lot of functionality.

    2. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Apple is also strongly pushing iPads in education, and owes a lot of its current success to having conquered the college market 15 years ago. All three companies are hoping to get kids used to their product as being "the standard"...

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Apple is particularly nasty with their anti right to repair stance. When the kid breaks an iPad, parents will have to buy a new one, because they won't be able to get it repaired for a reasonable cost.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          But your school has to use iPads. If they had chomebooks your kids would be no better than the ones on the council estate

    3. hammarbtyp

      No they are used a lot in schools to. Basically if you are handing out a PC to kids, you want it to be as safe and as simple to use as possible.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Oh it will outlive the pandemic

    Schools have discovered they can force parents to cough up for a special education model from their special chosen distributor, just like school uniforms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh it will outlive the pandemic

      One of the local schools has adopted chromebooks. The teacher projects a powerpoint presentation and kids take photos of each slide with their chromebooks. Leaving aside the obvious "wouldn't it be more efficient to just copy the powerpoint file?" question, the real problem is that the kids never look at it again. They don't bother to read it or to write notes. They are not actually learning or remembering anything by doing that.

      I was very pleased that my kids' school still did things the well-proven way with books and pencils. It's a much better way of learning IMHO. But now it seems that they too have decided to adopt chromebooks. So I'm going to be forced to shell out about 350 quid per child to buy them a useless electronic toy (from the school supplier) when they already have perfectly functional laptops and phones that they can use if they need to access the internet.

      I'd really like to take a stand against it, but unfortunately nobody else will. The vast majority will just cough up the money and congratulate the school on being so high tech and cool.

      1. MacroRodent

        Re: Oh it will outlive the pandemic

        Helsinki schools had gone to Office365, but that is pretty usable via web. My kid did pandemic home school with it and with some school website from Google (forget the name right now). Assignments were submitted that way. Chromebooks would have worked just as well (although he did already have a PC), no Windows stuff was actually installed.

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    My friend fallen for Chromebook advertising and bought one. She was so frustrated that nothing worked like in a "normal" computer.

    The biggest problem was documents editing. The forms she was getting wouldn't show up correctly in Google docs and everything would be messed up. She tried to use online Word, but she was always confused where files are stored. Are they on local storage, on thumb drive, on Google Drive, on One Drive? And then documents still wouldn't look right.

    Then the keyboard. She was asking me how she can disable the search button as it was driving her mad plus everything was slow.

    She tried to sell it but nobody wanted it so eventually she donated it to a charity shop.

  8. Angry Dad

    Hopefully this means there will be some competitively priced, decent spec, chromebooks for sale second-hand in a year or so.

    I want something to replace my ageing tablet for media-streaming and the occasional web-browsing that needs a larger screen than my phone.

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