back to article Chromebook sales train derails as market reaches saturation

Crashing Chromebook shipments caused the global PC market to shrink for the first time since the pandemic began. Or so says the latest data from Gartner, which estimates that total unit sales into the channel fell 7.3 percent year-on-year to 77.5 million units in the first quarter. Remove Chromebooks from that equation and the …

  1. goldcd

    I was more shocked at how high the numbers are

    I knew "Chromebooks were a thing in education", but 2 large vendors still shifting 34 million still feels pretty significant.

    1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      Re: I was more shocked at how high the numbers are

      Agree entirely. That's a heck of a lot.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I was more shocked at how high the numbers are

        Every kid in the developed world without an iPad ended up being bought one to do school stuff from home, everyone with an iPad got bought one cos the school work is on Chrome

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Every kid in the developed world"

          If sales are 70/80% in the US I guess a large part of the developed world is ignoring them. It looks where Google can get schools to use its software it can also sell Chromebooks. In other places you'll see a lot of cheap Windows laptops.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "Every kid in the developed world"

            ,,,or iPads. A significant number of UK schools and universities went with iPads in a "keyboard cover".

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: "Every kid in the developed world"

              Well that's the extravagantly funded British education system for you

        2. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: I was more shocked at how high the numbers are

          Possibly? My numbers are probably a bit off for this, but it looks as though Apple will ship 3 times more iPads in the same quarter than the quoted Chromebook sales - Their shipments may well fall fall compared to 1Q last year because of chip supply constraints…

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I was more shocked at how high the numbers are

      I just learned my Grandma, (98 today!), now has a Chromebook since here ancient PC died. There is one US sale for the stats!

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "[could] not diversify their customer base beyond the education market."

    Yep. Apple is notoriously bad for business networks and integration. Having a Windows network is bad enough, a hybrid Windows-Apple networkd must be exercise in frustration.

    Apple shines, however, in creation and the arts in general, which are mostly solo endeavours.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: "[could] not diversify their customer base beyond the education market."

      Apple has problems with "integration" because business networks are Windows centric. Microsoft has no incentive to make that easy, whether for Mac, Linux or Chromebook.

  3. Timo

    Supply chain?

    Any hints of supply chain issues limiting the shippable quantities? I would bet that companies shifted to piecing together higher-margin boxes based on the components they can get rather than low price, low margin Chromebooks.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Supply chain?

      Possibly more inventory in the chromebook supply chain.

      If you are making cutting edge laptops with the latest screens, GPUs and processors you don't have a lot of stock on hand because production is ramping up and the models change rapidly.

      If you are making bog standard chromebooks by the million you are likely to have longer stable production runs of parts and so much bigger parts stocks.

  4. Rphilipson00

    Not even on my radar

    Chromebooks would really have to improve to entice me to get one as my text laptop. ChromeOS is the main reason but at that £600 ish pricepoint I want for my day to day laptop the specs on something like a pixelbook don't really seem to jump out at me, and this is coming from a person with a pixel 6 and pixel buds so would love the integration.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not even on my radar

      The pixelbook never really made sense. If you are buying a simple webrowser+keyboard why do you need a 11th generation CPU?

      Buying $99 refurb Lenovo/Dell base spec 4Gb laptops for the kids to break on the other hand.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Not even on my radar

      I have a Dell 2-in-1 Chromebook. Fold the screen all the way over and it's a tablet. Cost about £300, I think, from Amazon.

      It's not a laptop and it's pretty rotten for creating things on, Google Docs being an awkward joke. However, it's my go-to for any form of consumption: YouTube, eBay, El Reg, news, whatever. The battery lasts for ever and it just works. Shame Google are withdrawing support in June. It'll probably get Linux then.

  5. DJV Silver badge

    It's just another Gartner Guestimate.

    Nothing to see here!

  6. wobball

    Right tool for the jobby

    With MS taking their main desktop products to 365 land and the general under usage that most workers put their devices too, I'm surprised they're not seen as a decent alternative for corporations to fit out their workforces with and save huge amounts of money in the process.

    Decent starter units come in around £150 against our current corporate Windows laptops at around the £700 mark!

    Saying that, I am increasingly biased here as I really, really fluffing hate supporting muggles with Windows laptops nowadays, especially in the corporate arena with anything other than domain admin rights, which I don't got in a tiered environment at 2nd line level.

    This isn't helped by said muggles seemingly getting generally dumber as time goes on, for any number of reasons.

    My experience and that of others I know who use them is that they're sleek and slick and provide pretty good coverage for personal productivity and home use for almost all tasks bar bloaty Adobe/Photoplop and serious music tools tho, saying that, my only paid for platform for the former is available on Linux and works well on my workstation as the APPROPRIATE tool for the job.

    Also, I'm just not that picky about imaging and video tools, cos it ain't exactly rocket science, is it!

    And breathe!

  7. Not Irrelevant

    Using a Chromebook is like a punishment because they're so limited. The only reason they have education is that the users have no recourse, the idea the Chromebooks were going to challenge Windows, Apple or any other kind of notebooks was something cooked up in the marketing departments of Chromebook sellers.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      For grade school education, they are a breeze to administer compared to Windows and Apple and cheap to replace.

      My personal preference is to never own one, but I've administered them in school systems and their ease of administration and security is a no-brainer.

    2. Geoff (inMelbourne)

      I think a lot of parents, such as me, realised just how horrible a Chromebook was during the home-schooling days of 2020 and 2021.

      This explains the surge in real PC sales since then.

  8. dipole

    I love the chomebook. I bought it a few months old for 150 quid and I don't use my expensive laptop anymore. Acer chromebook 315. It is just a great browsing experience.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      For lite duty, they really do serve the purpose.

    2. PRR Bronze badge

      > Acer chromebook 315

      I got one. Slick machine. Accepts ANY damm mouse the cat dragged home, no "searching MS Mongolia for 200MB drivers" like the WinMachine; more tolerant than modern Linux.

      But not at all snappy. Stuck in Chromebook software (and a few useful standalone web pages). And going out of support real soon.

      I bit my lip for 2 years, and just took delivery of a 5yo Dell Ultrabook, ex-FedEx refurb. BLOWS the Chrome off the CBook, for browsing, and will run much of my 30 year collection of Windows-world softwares.

      Considering the other Dell laptop in this house turns 19 this year, I hope for much better cost/year than the ChromeBook.

  9. Guildencrantz


    No proper chrome zoom app is the dealbreaker for me. Yes it runs a lite version but I can't crop my wide angle webcam on it so I'm like a little dot on the screen. Can't run original sound for music lessons.

  10. Blackjack Silver badge

    Please remember that people don't replace computers every year.

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