Why Chromebook Sales Are Surging in Schools, Enterprises

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-07-22 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Why Chromebook Sales Are Surging in Schools, Enterprises
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    Why Chromebook Sales Are Surging in Schools, Enterprises

    By Don Reisinger
  • Previous
    The U.S. Is a Major Source of Growth
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    The U.S. Is a Major Source of Growth

    The United States has been crucial to the success of Chromebooks. According to the latest data from NPD, customers across the U.S. have been buying thousands of Chromebooks. Part of that is due to Google's marketing in the U.S., but it's also because it's been so popular on Amazon.com. Without the U.S., it's likely that Chromebooks wouldn't be as successful as they are.
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    Blame It On Windows 8
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    Blame It On Windows 8

    Windows 8 has been a huge cause for concern for enterprise customers and consumers, according to NPD. The research firm reports that issues with Windows 8 and the belief that the operating system has major problems have caused the public to look elsewhere for notebooks and other PC models. Chromebooks have become one of the main beneficiaries of this trend.
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    Microsoft's Hardware Partners Aren't Coming Up With New PC Designs
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    Microsoft's Hardware Partners Aren't Coming Up With New PC Designs

    Looking at the design of PC hardware, not much has changed over the last couple of years. While devices have gotten nicer, in general, the actual design of those products hasn't trumped anything seen in the Chromebook space. Chromebook vendors have taken pages out of Apple's design book, and that has served them well. PC makers haven't done the same.
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    Education Buyers Are Crucial
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    Education Buyers Are Crucial

    According to NPD and other research firms, the education market is buying into Chromebooks at a rapid rate. Google officials announced July 21 that schools purchased more than 1 million Chromebooks in the 2014 second quarter. At last count, more than 2,000 institutions have adopted Chromebooks. When Google launched its first Chromebooks, the company targeted educational customers. It appears now that that effort has worked out quite well.
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    Pricing Plays a Major Role for Chromebooks
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    Pricing Plays a Major Role for Chromebooks

    Chromebook pricing has been a crucial component in the success of the form factor. Chromebooks with solid designs and components can be purchased for around $250 or so, making them far more affordable than even the lowest-end full-size iPad. Customers care deeply about pricing, according to NPD, and that has helped Chromebooks.
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    PC Makers See the Value in Chromebooks
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    PC Makers See the Value in Chromebooks

    The data from NPD shows that Chromebooks are of real value to device vendors. Samsung, Acer, Hewlett-Packard and others are all seeing the increasing value in Chromebooks, and they're spending more investment dollars on the device type, considering the market is growing so rapidly. Meanwhile, they're starting to see some issues with demand for PCs. If that continues, expect vendors to spend even more of their time and investment on Chromebooks.
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    Buyer Preferences Are Shifting in Google's Favor
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    Buyer Preferences Are Shifting in Google's Favor

    It's hard to argue with hard data. At the end of 2013, NPD released key market share data in the enterprise space. The company reported that while Chromebook market share was 0.2 percent in 2012, it had jumped to 10 percent in 2013. Through the entire notebook channel so far this year, Chromebooks have accounted for 35 percent of all sales.
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    It's a Cloud-Based World, After All
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    It's a Cloud-Based World, After All

    The fight for the cloud is positively impacting Chromebooks. Companies and consumers are both trying out cloud services and finding them to adequately address their needs. Google's cloud-based Chrome OS plays right into that, making Chromebooks appealing tools. It's an interesting trend shift.
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    The Enterprise Is Surprisingly Interested in Chromebooks
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    The Enterprise Is Surprisingly Interested in Chromebooks

    As noted, the enterprise is investing somewhat heavily in Chromebooks. Although Chromebook share was at 10 percent in the enterprise market, far behind the 34 percent of Windows notebooks, Google's operating system stole market share from Windows, iPads and other products. Companies are replacing at least some of their older PCs with Chromebooks. Who would have thought that would have happened?
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    It Makes Sense for People Used to Working With Google Cloud Apps
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    It Makes Sense for People Used to Working With Google Cloud Apps

    It shouldn't be surprising that the people used to working with Google's cloud applications would be willing to try out Chromebooks. For years, they've been using Google's slate of services, including Gmail, Google Maps and Google Docs, and all of those are built right into Chromebooks. Better yet, the operating system works well with the Chrome browser, so it's easy to synchronize data across multiple Google apps, even if the user has started out running the Chrome browser on another PC platform. For the Google fanatic, choosing a Chromebook can become a natural choice.
 

Chromebook sales have risen sharply over the past several months, according to a recent report from research firm NPD. Chromebook sales in the commercial channel increased 250 percent compared with the prior year and accounted for 35 percent of all U.S. channel notebook sales during the January-May period. Chromebooks, in other words, were extremely popular during the period and continue to be so. Exactly why and how Chromebooks have been achieving such sales success, however, are not so readily known. When the devices, which run Google's Chrome OS Web-based operating system, were first announced, many market observers believed that they had little chance of winning a significant share of the PC market.  And that seemed to hold true in the first couple of years after Chromebooks hit the market in mid-2011. But the latest data shows that Chromebook sales are adding to the competitive headwinds that Windows notebooks are experiencing these days. This eWEEK slide show looks at the impact that rising Chromebook sales is having on the U.S. PC market.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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