Chromebook Sales Could Top 7 Million This Year

Market research firm Gartner Inc. on Thursday estimated that 7.3 million Chromebooks would be sold this year, fueled mostly by demand from the education industry. Gartner said its sales estimate was an increase of 27 percent from 2014, when the education industry accounted for 72 percent of sales.

Chromebooks, the computers powered by Google's Chrome operating system, are designed to be used primarily to access the Internet and run online. Despite an interest in Chromebooks among small and medium-size businesses, demand from those sectors was still slow, Gartner said. Google is going after the business segment with its Chromebook for Work suite of office applications and has tried to make more applications and services available offline.

North America was the biggest market in 2014, accounting for 84 percent of sales. While Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) brought in 11 percent, Asia Pacific contributed less than 3 percent, with demand in Australia, New Zealand and Japan trailing behind.

"Since the first model launched in mid-2011, Google's Chromebook has seen success mainly in the education segment across all regions," according to Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. "In 2014, the education sector purchased 72 percent of Chromebooks in EMEA, 69 percent in Asia/Pacific, and 60 percent in the U.S."

WhatEUs Behind the Numbers?

We contacted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, who told us that the Gartner study is based on historical activity, not focused research on buyer intent.

"The core numbers for [sales] activity come from the vendors, who often overstate their numbers," said Enderle. "They also donEUt take into account returns because the vendor is under no obligation to report them. Finally, they donEUt anticipate success of a competing product like Windows 10, which will compete far more aggressively on price than Windows 8 did."

Chromebooks are doing better in the consumer...

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