Chromebook sales soar in 2013 while Mac sales dip

Chromebooks were the top-selling notebooks on Amazon this holiday season

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
December 30, 2013
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It looks like Chromebook has become the Little Notebook That Could. Last week, Amazon revealed that Chromebooks were the most popular notebook this holiday season. And now, new data from the NPD Group reveals that Chromebooks accounted for a full 21% of all notebook sales in 2013, which is up from a “negligible” share last year.

Researchers looked at desktop, notebook, and tablet sales between January and November 2013, so the data doesn’t include the holiday shopping season. Altogether, the Chromebook platform accounted for 8% of all computer and tablet sales through November.

Despite soaring sales, it doesn’t look like many people are actually using their Chromebooks. The Chrome OS Web traffic numbers are so low that StatCounter has them included in its “Other” category. As of November, Web traffic from Chrome OS only accounted for 0.04% of total Web traffic worldwide. However, that number did jump to 0.1% in December. In the United States, Chrome OS Web traffic accounted for 0.34% of total Web traffic in December.

Is this a situation where everyone is buying them as gifts for someone else (but wouldn’t use one themselves)? Quite possibly. Amazon did reveal that two of its top three best-selling notebooks were Chromebooks. (I bought one for my husband, but I’m a Mac woman, myself.)

Speaking of Macs, Apple sales for notebooks and desktops fell 7%, according to NPD. That’s despite the fact that notebook sales increased 28.9%, and even desktops increased 8.5% in 2013. Naturally, Apple takes the lead in tablet sales, accounting for 59% of volume in the tablet market. But Android is catching up—and quickly. Android tablet sales grew more than 160% in 2013. Yowza.

All told, tablet sales accounted for more than 22% of all personal computing device sales through November (not including smartphones).

Weak MacBook Air sales are reportedly one of the main drivers behind Apple’s rumored decision to release a larger 12-inch iPad. Allegedly.

“The market for personal computing devices in commercial markets continues to shift and change,” said Stephen Baker, NPD’s VP of industry analysis, in a statement. “New products like Chromebooks, and reimagined items like Windows tablets, are now supplementing the revitalization that iPads started in personal computing devices. It is no accident that we are seeing the fruits of this change in the commercial markets as business and institutional buyers exploit the flexibility inherent in the new range of choices now open to them.”


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