Google’s Chrome OS made a huge impact early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the quick shift to working and educating at home necessitating more machines, and often super affordable ones. However, the following year has seen those numbers drop quickly. In Q4 2021, Chromebook shipments dropped even further, down over 60% compared to the same period in 2020.

IDC reports that tablet and Chromebook shipments as a whole slowed down during the fourth quarter of 2021, despite seeing growth overall for the year. 46 million tablets were shipped during Q4, down just shy of 12% compared to the same time period in 2020. Tablet shipments were still up by 3.2% for the entirety of 2021, though. Apple, predictably, dominated the market with over 17 million shipments accounting for 38% of the market. Samsung and Lenovo saw drops of over 20% while Amazon’s Fire lineup actually managed year-over-year growth of 1.3%.

Meanwhile, Chromebooks saw a much bigger crash in Q4 of 2021. Looking at Q4 2021 versus Q4 2020, shipments were down 63% year-over-year from over 13 million units in 2020 to just shy of 5 million in 2021.

The lower shipments also led to a major shift in market leaders. Acer took over the top spot with Dell in second place. Previous leaders, Lenovo and HP, didn’t cross 1 million Chromebooks shipped in Q4 with a drop of over 73% for Lenovo and nearly 87% for HP. However, this didn’t affect the year as a whole, with all major brands except for Dell growing shipments year-over-year, and the Chromebook market as a whole grew by 13.5%, around 4.5 million units roughly.

It comes as little surprise that growth has slowed down for the Chromebook market, as hardware matures, the boom from the education market lessens, and ongoing shortages plague the market. If anything, it’s quite surprising to see yearly growth for Chromebook shipments at all.

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Ben Schoon

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