​Google Chromebooks’ Growth Slows—Cracking a Window for Microsoft and Apple

Market Trends

​Google Chromebooks’ Growth Slows—Cracking a Window for Microsoft and Apple

Dec 12, 2017

Google Chromebooks are still the leading choice for K-12 device adoptions, but growth may be slowing as schools buy fewer devices and Apple and Microsoft up their game to stay competitive, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. The third quarter of 2017 "saw the slowest Chromebook growth yet, with volumes only growing 3% year-on-year," the report says.

Still, Chromebooks represent about 60 percent of device shipments to K-12 in Q3.

Microsoft is trying to catch up with the release of several lower-cost laptops from vendors such as Dell, Acer and Lenovo, along with the launch new collaboration and device management tools.

Several years ago, new online testing requirements and the promise of a streamlined collaboration environment helped make Chromebooks a popular device choice for K-12 schools. Their growth came, most notably, at the expense of the iPad. Apple, however, has managed to hold onto its share of the market from 2016 to today—hovering between 12 and 18 percent—after releasing a lower-cost ($329) iPad back in March to strong sales.


What’s slowing down the purchase of Chromebooks? According to Futuresource, more schools are moving from one-off, widescale adoptions to replacement cycles, which require them to purchase fewer devices on any given year.

And while U.S. sales have slowed, growth is picking up steam in the rest of the world, where device shipments were up 26 percent over last year.

Outside the U.S., Microsoft retains its dominance, accounting for about two-thirds of all K-12 sales, a number that’s remained remarkably steady. The other one-third of the market is split between iOS, Linux, Chrome and even Google’s Android devices, an OS which failed to gain traction in the U.S earlier in the decade. Futuresource does note that Chrome is gaining some momentum in parts of the world, such as Northern Europe.


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