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Chromebook and tablet vendors posting record first-quarter numbers

Chromebook and tablet vendors are posting record first-quarter shipment numbers, according to the latest data from Canalys.

Its research shows the total worldwide PC market, which includes tablets, grew strongly for a fourth successive quarter, with shipments up 53.1% year-on-year.

Chromebooks and tablets are continuing to excel with 12.0 million and 39.7 million units sold respectively in the first quarter of 2021, showing a 274.6% and 51.8% growth.

The data shows that HP topped the market, with a growth of 633.7% which puts it past the 4-million-unit mark, and Lenovo was not far below that with 3.1 million units shipped. Acer, Samsung and Dell made up the rest of the top five, all shipping over 1 million units.

“Chromebooks are well and truly a mainstream computing product now,” says Canalys research analyst, Brian Lynch.

“While the education sector still accounts for the majority of shipments, their popularity with consumers and traditional commercial customers has reached new heights over the course of the last year. 

“HP and Lenovo dominate the Chromebook market, but the boom has been a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, allowing vendors such as Acer and Samsung to carve out substantial shares within the PC market by catering specifically to Chromebook demand,” he says.

Lynch says that Google is now in a strong position to work with its OEM partners and the channel to create a good future for Chromebooks. 

He says a strong messaging and evangelisation push coupled with flexible work arrangements and budget-conscious SMBs will be important to ensure the longevity of Chromebooks’ success.

The research says that almost all the top tablet vendors enjoyed continued shipment growth in Q1 2021, with Apple extending its lead, growing 50.3% and shipping 15.2 million units as the latest iteration of the iPad Air gained traction with consumers. 

Samsung was behind Apple with 8.0 million units shipped, posting growth of 59.9%. And Lenovo and Amazon achieved the highest levels of shipment volume growth with 133.5% and 197.9% year-on-year respectively. 

Huawei suffered a decline of 27.9%, although it still maintained a lead over competitors to secure a top five spot.

“The tablet market continues to defy expectations with the strength of its comeback,” says Canalys research analyst, Himani Mukka. 

“Even beyond the traditionally strong holiday season, vendors are seeing elevated demand as the need for affordable computing power and connectivity persists. At a time when the overall PC market is facing a supply crunch, the vendors that have strong tablet offerings have been able to squeeze out even greater gains from the increased demand for screen access and remote productivity brought about by the pandemic.”

She says Canalys expects this trend to develop as tablets become mainstays in growing sectors such as education, as well as in wider commercial deployments to support digital transformation.

Lenovo has maintained its lead in the total PC market, according to the research, which includes desktops, notebooks and tablets, it shipped 24.0 million units and posted a growth of 66.5%. It says Apple came second with 22.1 million shipments of Macs and iPads, and HP third with 19.3 million units and 64.2% growth, with Dell and Samsung making up the rest of the top five.