The Unprecedented Growth of the Chromebook Education Market Share

Chromebooks recognized massive market-share growth over the course of 2020 and 2021, most notably in the education sector, even overtaking macOS. This occurred for several reasons, but the pandemic was certainly a catalyst for great change given that it mandated people remain at home, which led to remote learning and working.

While tablets retain three times the market share, Chromebooks are fast, cheap, and easy to deploy and manage, giving them an edge in many cases. Chromebooks usability is also enhanced by the fact that a solution like Parallels® Desktop for Chrome OS transforms the device into a virtual machine so that Windows applications can be accessed seamlessly.

2020: The Year of the Chromebook in Education

When COVID first hit, it disrupted life as we knew it—across education, government, and corporate America, to name a few sectors. Initially, a purely remote model was employed to account for the mass closures, but eventually a hybrid model surfaced, and education pivoted toward online and hybrid learning.

Chromebooks became a part of the solution quickly because they are affordable and accessible, a critical differentiator during the height of the pandemic when other manufacturers came up against shortages. This is because Chromebooks use AMD processors more often than Windows devices do, and AMD was able to handle component shortages a bit better than Intel.

For schools with tight budgets, Chromebooks quickly became a viable option for bringing blended learning to areas that, without less expensive options, may not have had the ability to do so. Add to that Chromebooks web-based operating system, ease of use, IT manageability, and $200–$300 price range, which made them incredibly attractive. Schools started to purchase these devices in droves and promoted them on social media, heightening visibility and prompting parents to follow suit, quickly provisioning their children with personal devices.

And thus, a new era began.

Why Are Chromebooks Preferred in Education?

Students need organization tools, access to information, and the ability to communicate with other students and educators. Chromebooks happen to check all these boxes and then some, which is part of the reason why more than 30 million students are using a Chromebook at school today.

Beyond affordability and accessibility, schools gravitate toward Chromebooks for many other reasons. They are powered by Google (high brand-recognition and strong customer-support), the ease of use transcends generations (from kids to seniors), and they are designed with security in mind (meets the needs of school IT policies).

In the classroom, Chromebooks provide a gateway to everything a student needs in order to learn and everything a teacher needs to guide them. Plus, automatic updates coupled with the ability to sign into any device and have your profile available means more time dedicated to studies instead of administration. And Chromebooks are designed to be used with the Google educational suite of applications. This is a big deal.

School districts that purchase through education channels can contract various levels of support from the company that made the Chromebooks or through Google itself. Such support includes on-site service and having a Google specialist help students and teachers get started in person.

Even better, education-focused Chromebooks models are often built with an eye on durability. Thick polycarbonate shells and rubber bumpers are included to withstand bumps and falls, and weather resistant features and microbe-resistant screens that cut down on student-to-student germ spreading are game changers.

Can the Chromebook Education Market Share Be Sustained?

All signs point to sustained Chromebook momentum, especially as we see more and more schools embracing a continued and long-term hybrid learning model. Even as key markets like North America and Western Europe begin to open, shipments remain elevated as governments and education ecosystems plan for long-term integration of Chromebooks within digital learning processes.

That said, some reports indicate that the demand has softened and may impact the delivery of as many as 10 million units. But since Chrome has a relatively secure hold over the education space, Google is set to bet big on the commercial segment this year.

The continued success of Chromebooks will be hinged largely on the educational landscape going forward, and on its ability to enter other markets just as strongly.

Increasing Chromebook’s Usability for Education with Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS

Chromebook, with its many benefits, does face an inability to access Windows-compatible native applications, which may hinder student/teacher performance. But Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS bridges that gap.

Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS is an easy and affordable solution that enables students and teachers using Chromebooks to access popular applications common to education while enjoying a PC-like experience. They can run full-featured Windows applications, including Microsoft Office, directly on Chrome OS devices—even offline. However, it is necessary to ensure that your Chromebooks meet the system requirements.

Students can toggle effortlessly between Chrome OS and Windows without needing to reboot the system (a huge time saver!), suspend and resume Windows instantly, and open files on Chrome OS using Windows applications.

Get to know Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS with a free, 14-day trial.