Chromebook Sales Punching Through And Gobbling Market Share

The Chromebook is a relatively new platform, and it’s taken time for sales to pick up. A slow start makes sense, as Google’s newest operating system can be confusing for many to understand. It’s based around the Chrome web browser and thus requires an Internet connection for the vast majority of its functionality, and low prices on the laptops (starting at $200) make them seem a little too good to be true. (Here’s a quick primer on Chrome OS.)
Acer C720 Chromebook
Acer C720 Chromebook

However, Chromebooks seem to be catching on. For instance, two of the three top-selling laptops on this holiday season were Chromebooks--specifically units from Samsung and Acer.

NPD Group channel sales

More importantly, the NPD Group has some startling numbers on commercial computing device sales. From January-November 2012, Chromebook channel sales were negligible at just 0.2% of the total market, but this year over those same months that percentage leapt to 9.6% of all computing devices. They also accounted for 21% of notebook sales.

Much of Chromebooks’ success appears to be at the expense of Windows-based machines, which is likely due to a combination of a lukewarm response to Windows 8 and Chromebooks’ significantly lower prices.