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With a forecasted double-digit decline in Chromebook shipment next year, is 2021’s stay-at-home peak over for the notebook market?


2021-07-08 Consumer Electronics TrendForce

Although the stay-at-home economy has persisted through 2021, governments in Europe and the US are starting to lift restrictions in light of increased vaccinations. As such, it remains to be seen whether notebook computers will continue to experience strong demand and whether global notebook shipment will change accordingly.

TrendForce indicates that the YoY changes in annual notebook shipment for 2015-2019 remained within 3%, and about 160-165 million units were shipped each year during this period. However, as WFH and distance education became the norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s emergence in 2020, demand for notebooks has risen accordingly; global notebook shipment for 2021 is expected to reach 237 million units, a 15% YoY increase.

Nonetheless, TrendForce also believes that the easing of restrictions in Europe and the US in 2H21 will somewhat weaken the pandemic-generated demand for notebooks. While global notebook shipment for 2022 is expected to reach 222 million units, Chromebooks in particular will likely experience a double-digit decline. Shipments of other product categories, namely, business notebooks or consumer notebooks, are expected to decline by nearly 5%.

Chromebooks have been occupying an increasing share of the overall notebook market, from 11% in 2019 to 15% in 2020 and 20% in 2021. Volume-wise, the upward trajectory of Chromebooks has been nothing short of impressive. Chromebook shipment for 2020 reached 31.17 million units, a staggering 87% YoY increase. This momentum is expected to continue into 2021, during which annual Chromebook shipment will likely reach 46.87 million units, thereby becoming an indispensable driver of the global notebook market’s growth.

The US market accounts for the bulk(about 70%)of global Chromebook demand this year. That is why the near saturation of the US education notebook market and the impending return to physical locations for work and study after restrictions have been eased will lead to a slowdown of global education notebook demand.

At the same time, there will likely be a corresponding decline in demand for notebooks used in WFH applications, including business and consumer notebooks. TrendForce, therefore, believes that demand in the notebook market will peak in 2021 and slightly taper off in 2022.

(Cover image source: Lenovo StoryHub