Acer overtakes Samsung to lead Chromebook market

Acer has overtaken Samsungs to lead the global Chromebook market in 2014, said Gartner in its latest research report.

After Samsung’s decision to exit the European Chromebook market and focus on tablets, Acer took the lead to become the No. 1 worldwide Chromebook vendor in 2014.

Acer sold more than 2 million units in 2014. Samsung held the No. 2 position with 1.7 million units sold in 2014 and HP, a late entrant to the market, was ranked No. 3, with 1 million units, thanks to its strong connection with education partners.

Chromebook sales will grow 27 percent to 7.3 million units in 2015, said Gartner.

Education is the primary market for Chromebooks and represented 72 percent of the Chromebook market in 2014. The education sector purchased 72 percent of Chromebooks in EMEA, 69 percent in Asia Pacific and 60 percent in the U.S. last year.

In the business segment, purchases of Chromebooks remain low despite interest from small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and vertical industries.

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Google is increasingly targeting the business segment with its Chromebook for Work suite of office applications and has continuously improved access and functions by making more applications and services available offline.

“Chromebooks will become a valid device choice for employees as enterprises seek to provide simple, secure, low-cost and easy-to-manage access to new web applications and legacy systems, unless a specific application forces a Windows decision,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner.

Google is gaining credibility and seeing success with Chromebooks in the consumer retail space, but has to improve brand awareness, especially outside the U.S. market, where consumers who may be familiar with apps such as Google Docs do not know about Chromebook.

Gartner said that the majority of Chromebook users are tech-savvy individuals who purchase one as a companion device to their primary notebook or desktop PC. Others are buying a Chromebook for the household to use as a second low-cost PC alternative.

The major factors that affect the adoption of Chromebooks by consumers remain the connectivity issue in emerging markets, but also the ability for users to understand and get used to cloud-based applications, and keep content in the cloud and ecosystem.

84 percent of Chromebooks were sold in North America in 2014, with the U.S. market the largest single market in 2014. EMEA, which represented 11 percent of total sales of Chromebooks in 2014, is the secondary focus for vendors with Western Europe as the primary target. In Asia Pacific the Chromebook market represented less than 3 percent in 2014, with demand coming from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

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