Apple and Chrome Boost U.S. Retail PC Back-to-School Sales

PC Sales Jump 3 Percent for Back- to-School

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 – U.S. consumer retail PC sales grew almost 3 percent during the 10 week Back-to-School period (week of July 4th through Labor Day week) after declining by 2.5 percent in the previous year. According to The NPD Group Weekly Tracking Service, Apple and Chrome OS led the sales drive with Chrome OS unit sales increasing 37 percent over 2013 and Mac OS-based products up 14 percent. Windows devices declined 3 percent. Overall, notebooks were up 3.4 percent in units and desktops were flat, year-over-year.

Unit Device Share by OS
  2012 2013 2014
Mac OS 24.5% 24.2% 26.8%
Chrome OS 0.2% 3.3% 4.5%
Windows OS 75.2% 72.3% 68.4%

Source: The NPD Group/Weekly Tracking Service

Apple notebooks were one of the star performers this year with sales up 16 percent over last Back-to-School with the most significant increase over the last three weeks of the period growing 27 percent.  Windows desktop towers continued their success during this year’s Back-to-School season with a 2 percent unit increase, a significant improvement over 2013’s 12 percent decline.  Chromebook sales were up 32 percent in 2014 and accounted for more than 5 percent of notebook sales, and 18 percent of all sales of notebooks under $300. Windows notebook ASPs fell over the last three weeks to just $441, which was 8 percent lower than last year, but the price cuts lifted units by 4 percent.  Entry-level Windows Notebooks priced under $300 increased by 37 percent as prices dropped from $271 to $242.  2-in-One Windows devices accounted for 13 percent of Windows sales as volume increased 6x over 2013.

“After a slow start, aggressive pricing and robust selection drove significant volumes towards the end of the Back-to-School season, making it a very strong year,” said Stephen Baker vice president of Industry Analysis at NPD. Due to the success of the aggressive Windows notebook pricing during Back-to-School we could see a much more aggressive pricing strategy this holiday season as the seemingly stable PC volume environment emboldens the PC OEMs and the OS and chip suppliers to make a grab for market share while the industry remains relatively steady.”

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