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Chromebook demand "through the roof" with 287% growth

HP leads the pack with 3.5 million units sold in Q4 2020

Dell's Latitude Chromebook with a close up of the 'Chrome' logo

Chromebook shipments hit an all-time high of 11.2 million shipped units between October and December, an increase of 287% from the same quarter in 2019.

The global PC market ended the year with strong sales all around, but for Chromebooks, demand has increased dramatically, according to research from Canalys.

Vendors saw massive increases compared to 2019 as the overall Chromebook market almost quadrupled in size. HP was the top supplier in the fourth quarter, with 3.5 million units sold, 235% more than the same period in 2019.

Lenovo's sales grew 1,766%, putting the firm second with 2.8 million units sold between October and December. Acer and Dell were third and fourth, respectively, having shipped over 1.5 million units each, while Asus was edged out of the top five by Samsung. The South Korean firm shipped over a million units, increasing its sales by 630% year-over-year.

"Demand for Chromebooks is through the roof," said Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi. "With many countries being forced to accelerate their digital education plans in the wake of additional lockdowns, schools and universities are clamouring for easy to deploy solutions and Google's digital offerings for education are proving quite popular over rival platforms, especially in the US and Western Europe."

This demand for Chromebooks is expected to remain strong throughout 2021, according to Doshi, with mounting interest from consumers and businesses for affordable hardware. This is also the case for tablets, which saw significant shipment increases in 2020, with 160.6 million units moved throughout the year.

Apple recorded its best quarterly iPad performance since Q4 in 2014, selling 19.2 million units - 40% growth year-on-year. Samsung also saw tablet shipments increase with 9.9 million units. Amazon climbed to third having shipped 6.5 million tablets over the Christmas period, but the fastest-growing vendor was Lenovo, with 5.6 million units shipped in Q4 - a 125% increase from 2019.

As with its smartphone business, Huawei saw its tablet sales decline by 24%, making it the only vendor in the top five to see a drop.

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