K–12 Tech Trends
Chromebooks Seeing Massive Surge as Tablets Make Only Modest Gains
The increased demand for lower-cost remote learning solutions is
helping to drive massive growth for Chromebooks this year. But the
next few years won’t look so rosy, according to a new
forecast from market research firm IDC.
According to IDC, Chromebooks will see shipments increase by 33.5% in
2021, with total shipments at 43.4 million units. Tablets, though,
will only increase 1.8%, reaching 166.5 million units.
"Sales for tablets and Chromebooks greatly expanded in 2020 due
to an unprecedented demand for remote working and learning solutions.
This year the need for budget friendly yet versatile devices for
hybrid working and learning solutions will be paramount and this will
continue to drive demand for these devices," said Anuroopa
Nataraj, research analyst with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device
Trackers, in a prepared statement. "Beyond 2021 both categories
will continue to struggle as consumer and education demand is
expected to slow. With the relaxation of lockdown restrictions,
consumers will begin to increase spend on travel and other modes of
entertainment, which in turn will impact growth in these devices."
After 2021, both Chromebooks and tablets are forecast to drop, though
IDC is preducting Chromebooks will see a comeback in 2025.
"While 2021 will serve as a peak year for both tablets and
Chromebooks there are still plenty of opportunities for each device
category," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager with IDC
Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "Chromebooks are quickly
proving themselves useful within workplaces and while they will not
supplant Windows and Mac in these settings, they are expected to
provide competition, particularly in job functions where high
performance and legacy support isn't a priority. On the tablet side,
detachable tablets will remain a bright spot as these devices are
more PC-like than ever, both from a hardware and a software
details can be found on IDC’s site.
About the Author
David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.
He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).