Chromebooks, tablets rule the global PC market in Q3: Report

Google Chrome OS-based Chromebooks were the best performing PC product in the third quarter of 2020, as shipments grew 122 per cent to a total of a record high of 9.4 million.

HP led the Chromebook market, more than doubling volumes from a year ago to hit 3.2 million units, with the majority of shipments coming in its home market of the US.

The worldwide tablet market also posted stellar growth in Q3 2020, with shipments of 44.3 million units, up 43 per cent year-on-year.

Apple maintained pole position with shipments of 15.2 million iPad units and growth of 47 per cent. Samsung placed second with stunning growth of 80 per cent to break the 9 million unit shipment mark for the first time since Q4 2015.

Both Chromebook and tablet categories came to the fore in the context of affordable computing, as the pandemic continued to positively influence PC ownership and usage for various purposes, according to market research firm Canalys.

“Vendors and channel partners shifted resource allocation towards production and distribution of tablets and Chromebooks to meet this surging demand, which is expected to continue in the short-term,” the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, the global PC market (including tablets) enjoyed a second successive quarter of stellar growth in Q3, with total shipments of 124.5 million units which was up 23 per cent year-on-year.

Lenovo led the global market with 23.5 million tablets, notebooks and desktops shipped followed closely by Apple with 22.1 million macs and iPads. HP, Dell and Samsung rounded out the top five.

After Chromebooks, detachables (tablets and notebooks) grew 88 per cent and were the second best performing category in personal computing.

Within desktops, all-in-ones grew 7 per cent despite an overall desktop market decline of 32 per cent.

“Tablets have come back from the dead as they deliver the perfect balance of mobility and computing power at a wide range of price points during such a crucial time,” said Victoria Li, Canalys Analyst.

The tablet market has been in free-fall since 2015, with the last two quarters being the only quarters of growth in the last five years.

Tablets are a natural choice for first-time PC users who want something uncomplicated and affordable to work with.

“The natural extension of Android and iOS on tablets makes it easy for parents, students and educators who dabbled with extended remote learning for the first time in their lives and prefer the ease of installing apps that these platforms offer,” Li said in a statement.

Another contributing factor is the role these tablets play in the accelerated pace of digital transformation that big and small companies are undertaking.

“Chromebooks emerged as the centrepiece of the education segment’s digital response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Analyst.