2020 appears to have marked a turning point in the adoption of ChromeOS, with Chromebooks sold in greater volume than Apple’s Macs as of the second quarter. A breakthrough subsequently confirmed, with stable growth until the end of the year.
This is a first… but it was relatively predictable. In the game of market share, Apple computers are now beaten by a short lead by Chromebooks, even if Windows PCs are still far, far ahead. This is what the data gleaned by IDC regarding the sale of computers (all types included: desktops, laptops and workstations) unveil for the year 2020 in its entirety. Rather consistent data given the pandemic situation, to which Google and Chromebooks, mainly used in education and business, can say thank you.
As GeekWire points out, the market shares grabbed by Chromebooks have mainly been at the expense of Windows machines and therefore to the detriment of Microsoft, which sees its market share decline by 87.5% in the first quarter of 2020, to only 76.7% in Q4. For Chromebooks, the dynamic is the opposite, with 5.3% market share only in the first quarter of 2020, against 14.4% in the last quarter. Macs remained broadly stable, with 5.8% in the first quarter of 2020 and 7.7% in the last quarter, after a brief breakthrough to 8.4% market share in the third quarter.
Chromebooks passed the 10% market share mark in 2020
This data is confirmed if we look at the year-over-year performance of Windows, ChromeOS and macOS. Between 2019 and 2020, Windows thus lost 4.9% of market share (from 85.6% of market share over the whole of 2019 to 80.5% in 2020), ChromeOS has progressed by 4.4% year-on-year (from 6.4% in 2019 to 10.8% in 2020), while macOS for its part gained 0.8% more market share on the same period (6.7% in 2019 against 7.5% in 2020).
This increased public interest in ChromeOS and Chromebooks in 2020 is, however, only the continuation of a pre-pandemic trend, which the health crisis has reinforced. While the PC market as a whole has been in distress for years, remote working and homeschooling induced by the emergence of COVID-19 have greatly inflated computer sales in 2020, leading to a auspicious situation. However, this situation does not seem to have been exploited to the best by Microsoft. It is indeed the first time in several decades that Windows has fallen below the 80% market share mark. Certainly, it will take more to worry about the supremacy of Microsoft’s OS, but we understand better why the firm is hastening the development of Windows 10X, its own response to ChromeOS.