Chromebooks are a Bright Spot in a Stagnant B2B PC and Tablet Market, According To NPD

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. August 12, 2015 – Chromebook sales through the U.S. B2B channels increased 43 percent during the first half of 2015, helping to keep overall B2B PC and tablet sales from falling.

Sales of PCs and tablets through U.S. B2B channels were flat during the first half of 2015, at 7.3 million units according to The NPD Group’s Distributor Track and Reseller Tracking Services. This, however, is a significant decline from the 21 percent unit increase for the same time period in 2014, which was fueled by the strong XP-driven growth in Windows desktops and the continued sales expansion of Chromebooks. 

Sales of Google OS-equipped (Android and Chrome) devices saw a 29 percent increase over 2014 propelled by Chromebook sales, while Apple devices declined 12 percent and Windows devices fell 8 percent.


First-Half Comparisons of PC and Tablet Unit Share by OS Brand

Source: The NPD Group / Distributor Track and Reseller Tracking Services


Driven by Chromebooks, notebooks were the strongest product category in B2B client devices during the first half of the year. Apple MacBook sales increased 27 percent year-to-date and Windows notebooks grew 3 percent. Overall, tablets sales slowed their decline, down 7 percent following a 12 percent decline in the first half of 2014—iPads dropped nearly 20 percent and Android Tablets 8 percent, but Windows tablets (primarily Surface) saw a 35 percent sales increase over the prior year.

“In B2B channels the notebook remains the device of choice for the vast amount of purchasers, with sales volumes more than triple that of tablets,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis, The NPD Group, Inc. “For B2B productivity and the best mix of affordability, form and function, the notebook remains the workhorse device purchased through B2B channels for businesses, education, and government organizations.”

Notebook sales have strengthened even further over the past seven weeks (May 31 – July 18, 2015) with overall sales volumes up 22 percent over the same time period in 2014 and 65 percent ahead of 2013. Chromebooks have maintained their education season buying momentum with sales up 38 percent over 2014 and, for the first time, exceeding sales of Windows notebooks and passing the 50 percent market share threshold through B2B channels during the June and early July period. Yet, while Chromebooks have seen strong demand, it has not necessarily impacted Windows notebooks and MacBooks, which both also posted sales increases, totaling 6 percent and 42 percent respectively.

“The results from the end of Q2 and the first half of July are good news for all the major notebook platforms,” added Baker. “Windows was not impacted by the upcoming release of Windows 10, MacBooks grew the most of any platform, and Google saw Chrome rise to take the number one spot in market share. All these results continue to point to strong channel demand for PCs and continue to belie the notion that any other devices are threatening the long-term business case for the notebook.”

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