Despite the delivery records recorded last year, the tablet and Chromebook markets should continue to grow in 2021. Beyond that, both will experience a three-year drought period.
2021 should again rhyme with growth for sales of tablets and Chromebooks, two types of products that often compete in terms of price levels. With regard to tablets, IDC estimates that their deliveries will increase this year by 1.8% compared to 2020. The number of terminals sold will then reach 166.5 million units. An honorable performance for a market which has already appreciated by 13.5% last year. As for Chromebooks, volumes are expected to rise by 33.5% to 43.4 million units. If confirmed, this result will also be all the more to be welcomed as sales of notebooks equipped with the Google OS have already experienced an explosion of 86% in 2020.
Last year, the pandemic created unprecedented demand for work-from-home and remote-education solutions that greatly benefited shipments of tablets and Chromebooks. This year, the same needs will still be felt by consumers who are looking for affordable but versatile equipment. Beyond 2021, on the other hand, said needs will become less significant, resulting in a drop in sales. In addition, “with the relaxation of sanitary measures, customers will start to invest more in travel and leisure in general”, explains Anuroopa Nataraj, analyst at IDC.
Return to growth in 2025 for Chromebooks
From 2022 to 2024, the decline in sales should be felt for both tablets and Chromebooks. In 2025, the latter will see their volumes start to rise again (+ around 5%), while the tablet market will continue to decline. “Chromebooks have demonstrated their value in the work environment. They will never supplant Windows PCs and Macs, but they will make them serious competition in the equipment of collaborators for whom high performance and the support of the applications in place is not a priority”, estimates Anuroopa Nataraj. Regarding tablets, models with detachable keyboards will remain a buoyant segment. These products are more PC-like than ever, both in hardware and software.