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chromebooks market

Incredible: Growth of this technology crushes Apple, Microsoft in K-12 classrooms


New research reveals a strong K-12 education market share for Chromebooks in the US; much different story internationally.

Chromebooks continued their steady growth in education, securing 58 percent of K-12 market share in 2016, according to a new report examining technology trends in the K-12 education market.

The report from Futuresource Consulting notes that annual mobile PC shipments in the K-12 education market grew 18 percent year-on-year in 2016.

The steady growth is due in part to school districts expanding one-to-one learning programs and technology initiatives. The report also notes that PC and tablet sales are on an overall decline in the business and consumer markets, causing major device providers to concentrate on the education market.

The report also attributes Chromebooks’ growth to their affordability, available productivity tools, integration with third-party platforms and tools, and Google Classroom tools.

The rise of Chromebooks has also set new industry benchmarks with regards to average device pricing, with prices reaching as low as $120 on certain projects.

Despite Chromebook growth, Apple and Microsoft have made product and tool announcements that are more in line with Chromebook offerings.

Next page:  How Apple, Microsoft are vying for education space

Apple announcing the Classroom app and education-focused functionality updates on iOS 9.3, including the ability to share iPads. Microsoft launched ‘Microsoft Classroom’, ‘School Data sSync’ and a large number of integrations with popular third party solutions. More recently, Microsoft and partners also announced a suite of Windows 10-based devices targeting the sub $300 price point–devices designed to compete directly with Chromebooks.

In addition, according to the report, Microsoft has moved to close a significant benefit of Chromebooks, the central, cloud-based device management platform. Microsoft announced ‘InTune’ for Education, a tool that effectively replicates the Google Management Console and allows IT admins to easily provision and set up large numbers of student devices remotely. It is also identically priced at $30 per device.

“Microsoft has made huge strides in developing its education ecosystem offering in the past year, with major announcements on both the devices and platform side. To date however, these developments have not stopped Google’s momentum within the US K-12 market,” said Mike Fisher, associate director of Education at Futuresource Consulting. “Microsoft continues to face challenges to win back end-user mindshare. Chromebook users and administrators continually refer to the simplicity and ease of use of the platform.”

Internationally, the story is different–at an OS level, Microsoft remains the leader, with 65 percent of the K-12 market share in 2016. Chromebooks accounted for just 6 percent of the market.

Microsoft has been gaining share against Android, especially in large scale emerging market deals. While 90 percent of Chromebook global sales remain in the U.S., Chromebook international sales are steadily increasing in certain territories.

In Northern Europe particularly, Chromebooks have been consistently gaining share and 2016 saw Chromebooks gain the No. 1 spot in Sweden (the first country outside of the U.S.).

Two-in-one devices are on track to become the next big thing, according to the report. Both Microsoft and Google have announced a range of such products designed specifically for education and are expected to sell for under $300. The technology behind stylus/pen usage has developed rapidly and ‘inking’ is expected to become widespread and add value to device usage.

Fisher adds, “PC provider’s laser focus on the education sector is good news for schools and students. 2017 will see wide ranges of computing devices, designed specifically for education and at competitive price points, entering the market and vying to be the device of choice for learning.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione

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