Chromebook sales are plummeting ahead of Black Friday

Lenovo Chromebook duet krane on desk
(Image credit: John Lewis)

Chromebooks sales have fallen much faster than laptop sales as a whole, largely because a key market – education – has likely reached saturation and a decline in demand as students begin returning to in-person learning.

After a year of students being heavily reliant on Chromebooks for school work and remote instruction, the drop in sales for Chromebooks shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. But the pace of that decline is notable.

Overall, worldwide PC sales are down about 2% year on year, according to market analyst Canalys. As TechCrunch notes, Chromebooks made up 18% of all PC sales in Q2, and they made up only 9% in Q3, a precipitous drop.

Chromebook sales last year hit new records but saw an overall 37% year on year drop from last year, the Canalys study found.

"The Chromebook market was hit by a massive downturn, with a 37% year-on-year fall in shipments (52% quarter on quarter) in Q3. This comes as major education markets such as the U.S. and Japan reach saturation point, with public sector funding of digital education programs slowing," according to Canalys's report.

The drop in demand comes less than a month before the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping rush, which normally sees sales of major tech items like laptops and Chromebooks spike. It's doubtful that Black Friday Chromebook sales will see a major reversal later this month, since anyone who might need or want a Chromebook likely already has one.

If you've been holding off on buying a Chromebook...

If you're one of the few people out there who doesn't have a Chromebook but wants one, you're probably in luck.

Every year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday Chromebook deals are usually some of the bestsellers with some pretty great deals all around. If sales have dropped this much this quickly, it's unlikely that retailers anticipated so steep a decline.

That means they're likely to have more inventory heading into Black Friday than they were expecting even as demand for Chromebooks is falling. 

This is a perfect recipe for aggressive price cutting over the Black Friday period, so if you've been holding out for whatever reason, the next few weeks are likely to see the best Chromebook deals we've ever seen.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).