In a tech world still hampered by component shortages, choices have to be made. And in the world of laptops, Windows devices are preferred over Chrome OS devices.
IDC released initial data from its latest Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker Monday. The tracker pointed to a sharp 63.6 percent drop in Chromebook shipments, which the IDC defines as “shipments to distribution channels or end-users,” in Q4 2021 (4.8 million shipments) compared to Q4 2020 (13.1 million shipments). ).”
In addition to market saturation, delivery issues are impacting Chromebook shipments as the industry continues to struggle with shortages of PC components, from CPUs to integrated circuits for Wi-Fi modules and power management.
“Supply for Chromebooks has also been unusually tight, as component shortages have led vendors to prioritize Windows machines because of their higher price tags, further suppressing Chromebook shipments on a global scale,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC’s Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. in a statement accompanying Monday’s announcement.
Ubrani told Ars Technica that IDC isn’t sure whether Windows 10 or Windows 11-based machines will take precedence over Chrome OS devices. Windows 11 debuted in 2021, giving PC makers an excuse to refresh lines with “Windows 11-ready” systems.
But since PC availability is still scarce, it’s likely that Windows 11 has had a smaller impact on PC sales.
“In general, the launch of a new OS has boosted demand, although this time the demand is already quite high and the supply low, so buyers don’t make their purchase decision based on the OS version,” Ubrani told Ars Technica . † “As a result, we do not believe that Windows 11 specifically impacted [Chrome OS device shipments] or the PC market in general.”
Ubrani also pointed to market saturation in the US and Europe (which were extra hungry for Chromebooks as remote learning and work grew) as slowing global growth. According to Ubrani, “Demand for Chromebooks in emerging markets has continued to grow over the past year.”
But Chromebooks were actually more popular in 2021 than in 2020, with 4.4 million more machines sold. Lenovo saw the biggest growth, moving from 6.7 million Chromebook sales in 2020 to 8.3 million in 2021.
With 10.2 million devices, HP sold more Chromebooks last year than any other vendor.