Who Needs An Optical Drive, Right?
For the first time since Google supersized their mobile devices and made the SIM card optional, they’ve pushed ahead of Apple in market share. In 2020 Chromebooks made up just over 10% of all desktop and laptop sales, up from 6.4% in 2019. Considering the spike in sales of laptops and desktops in 2020, the actual number of units sold increased even more than that percentage suggests.
The majority of users seem to have switched from a Windows machine, as Microsoft’s share dropped from 85.4% in 2019 to 80.5% last year. The trend started in Q1 and continued to grow throughout the year, so this was not just the result of a single large purchase, though Geekwire suggests that purchases by educational institutions in the USA was one of the largest customers of Chromebooks last year.
This trend in the sales of low cost laptops will be closely watched by Microsoft and Apple over the coming year, as they may need to adjust their strategy if this trend continues. There will still be an audience for laptops that sport an optical drive and more than two USB ports, but it seems that particular portion of the market is shrinking.
Computers powered by Google's Chrome OS have outsold Apple's computers in individual quarters before, but 2020 was the first full year that Chrome OS took second place. Microsoft's Windows still retained majority market share, but also took a big hit as both Chrome OS and macOS gained share.