The transformation of both work and education by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about exceptional shipment numbers for the notebook computer industry in 2Q20, with Chromebooks showing the most remarkable growth. TrendForce forecasts global Chromebook shipment in 2Q20 to reach up to 11.6 million units, a historical high in single-quarter shipment. Furthermore, 2Q20 marks the first time ever for Chromebooks to occupy 25% of total quarterly notebook shipment.
TrendForce considers the explosive growth of Chromebooks to be caused by the following factors: First, many countries have turned to distance learning at all levels of the education system due to the pandemic. As the education market has always been the primary market for Chromebooks, Chromebooks have now become the hardware purchase of choice for the student population in North America and Europe, since many families are taking extra care when budgeting during the pandemic. In sum, the transformation of the education system under the pandemic’s influence is the primary factor responsible for the surge of Chromebook shipment.
Secondly, in early 2020, most notebook brands did not view Chromebooks as an important product in their yearly strategy. But the subsequent onset of the pandemic introduced a breakage in the Chinese supply chain, while at the same time market demand for Chromebooks began rising. These events led to a large number of urgent Chromebook orders being placed in 2Q20; the traditional seasonal peak demand for Chromebooks due to the start of the school year in third quarters is thus emerging ahead of time this year in 2Q20 instead, in turn becoming another key factor facilitating the surge of Chromebook shipment. Also, the retail prices of Chromebooks are considerably more consumer-friendly relative to those of Windows notebooks. This has given Chromebooks an edge in securing public educational project bids. A notable example of this is the recent adoption of Chromebooks in the Japanese education market for the first time.
On the other hand, the massive QoQ growth of Chromebook shipment in 2Q20 led the market to suspect that the strong seasonality typically seen in third quarters may not repeat itself this year. TrendForce believes that although the market may be impacted in 3Q20, the total yearly shipment of Chromebooks in 2020 is still projected to reach the 20-million-unit milestone, thanks to the strong shipment numbers in 2Q20. In 2020, the Chromebook market is projected to not only see YoY shipment growth of 17% compared to last year’s shipment of 17 million units, but also possess increased market share of 12.8%, compared to 10.5% in 2019, setting record highs in both shipment and market shares.