Admittedly, Chromebooks probably don't top a lot of wish lists, but a new report from Gartner (News - Alert) suggests that this breed of inexpensive cloud-driven laptop is actually more popular than some might expect. In fact, the Gartner study suggests that 7.3 million Chromebooks will be sold in 2015, and that number comes with a few surprises of its own.
Titled “Education is the Primary Opportunity for Chromebooks,” the study suggests that the consumer market really isn't the selling point here. In 2014, for example, the education sector actually purchased 72 percent of all Chromebooks sold in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. That compares fairly closely to the 69 percent sold in the Asia/Pacific region, and the 60 percent in the United States.
The consumer market, meanwhile, wasn't much of a comparison. While the United States had a fairly decent consumer showing with around 39 percent of the market, the EMEA region saw just under 27 percent of the market go Chromebook. In the Asia-Pacific field, it was worse, with 14.7 percent of the consumer market accounting for Chromebook sales.
Businesses, meanwhile, were not big Chromebook consumers. In the Asia-Pacific region, businesses stepped in on 16.5 percent of sales, but just 1.1 percent of United States sales were business-related. The EMEA field couldn't even muster an entire percent, coming in at 0.9 percent. Though some businesses, according to Gartner principal analyst Isabelle Durand, regarded these as a great way to get some necessary technical capability when resources for IT were low, it wasn't enough to drive sales. Durand acknowledged the lower sales in the consumer sector, noting that Chromebooks were often considered a “companion device” to a primary device like a laptop or desktop.
Durand noted that one of the biggest hurdles in Chromebook adoption was the connectivity factor, particularly in emerging markets, but alsogetting users more accustomed to a cloud-based environment when local operation had been the order of the day for years, even decades, prior. But with reports saying that 27 percent more Chromebooks are to be sold this year than in 2014, it's clear that gains are being made.
Still, the point is clear: Chromebooks are doing best in educational environments, and with good reason. Educational institutions often have limited budgets, and the low-cost nature of the Chromebook can help on that front substantially. Educational institutions are also often priorities for good-quality connectivity, and that helps the Chromebook as well. The Chromebook is actually very well-suited to the educational environment, and educators are taking to it in a big way as the sales numbers demonstrate.
But there are some gains in other sectors as well, and anyone planning to buy a Chromebook will be in the company of a few more businesses, a few more consumers, and a whole legion of educators.