In AB Research's latest study of ultrabooks and netbooks, which is where the company places Chromebooks, it found that "An estimated 2.1 million Chromebooks shipped in 2013 with nearly 89 percent of total shipments reaching North America. As Chromebook shipments expand globally, ABI Research forecasts an increase of annual growth rate to 28 percent and reach 11 million shipments in 2019."
ABI Research did not break out the numbers for low-end Windows 8.x laptops or Surface or Surface RT devices. Gartner in its recent tablet marketshare report stated that all Microsoft-operating tablets and low-end based devices sold just over 4 million units in 2013.
Gartner, however, doesn't break out tablets from other device categories. According to Gartner, "Tablets are a part of the wider ultramobile market that also includes hybrids and clamshells." Others, however, state that Gartner counts Surface RT and Surface 2 as tablets but counts Surface Pro and Pro 2 as “Other Ultramobiles (Hybrid and Clamshell).”
In any case, Windows 8 and RT devices are clearly still outselling Chromebooks at the low end. That said, Chromebooks are equally clearly making major gains against Windows in this niche.
"ABI Research tracked Chromebooks across six regions and found the average selling price (ASP) to be US$338," said research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor in a statement. "This truly budget-driven device is a disruptive force to the portable PC market." The average selling price (ASP) and shipment growth of Chromebooks shows the market responding to products for the budget conscious; a reaction from a slowly reviving economy along with interest from the education business vertical.
Chromebooks may be doing well in the market, but nothing else is. ABI Research states that "the broader portable PC market continuing its struggle to regain market growth. The ultraportable segment, which is powered by the Windows 8 operating system and includes the versatile 2-in-1 configurations, saw minimal growth during 4Q 2013 even with the holiday season. ABI Research also saw the ASP of ultraportables decline in 2013 by 7.4 percent year-over-year. We predict ASPs will continue to decline through 2019 as competition for share of wallet from mobile devices and other form-factors continues. "
Looking ahead, ABI Research believes Chromebooks have the potential to change the market. That's because expects in the current low-end PC market, cost, connectivity, and greater reliance on cloud services are the driving growth forces .
"There are many events that can shift the market in 2014, including the end of life of Windows XP , the adoption of Chromebooks, and a stronger focus on web and cloud services,” adds senior practice director Jeff Orr. "How consumers and business audiences respond to these changes will impact the trajectory of the market."