Inexpensive laptops running Google Chrome OS were very popular in the early stages of the pandemic, as they are in demand when organizing distance learning. Now manufacturers are inclined to believe that the volume of production of Chromebooks will decrease this year, and the shortage of components may be one of the reasons.
Edition Nikkei Asian Review conducted a survey among market participants on the further development trends of the Chromebook segment. Official representatives of laptop manufacturers mostly abstained from public comments, but component suppliers admitted that the volume of specific orders has been revised downward compared to the beginning of the year. According to some forecasts, Chromebook manufacturers will now need 20% fewer components for their production, and in total, by the end of the year, the production of Chromebooks may be reduced by 10 million units.
It is emphasized that the volume of sales of Chromebooks relative to last year will still grow, but this increase will not be as noticeable as previously thought. If in 2019 16.7 million Chromebooks were sold worldwide, then last year their number almost doubled to 32.5 million. Manufacturers initially expected to ship up to 55 million Chromebooks this year, but now they expect that number to drop to 45 million.
The point is not only a decrease in demand from the educational sector, although it is expressed quite strongly in the US market. As component suppliers note, the production cost of Chromebooks has grown significantly against the backdrop of a shortage of components. For example, an 11-inch display can cost as much as a 14-inch display, so a laptop manufacturer, for a comparable cost, is better off releasing a larger model rather than a Chromebook. Overall, according to IDC forecasts, the laptop market will shrink to 261 million units next year, although about 268 million mobile computers will be sold this year.