The PC market is still in decline and shipments of traditional desktop and notebook PCs took a nosedive during 2013. PC manufacturers are introducing new features such as ultra HD displays and touchscreens in an effort to compete with the rapidly-rising tablet market, Though the ability of these features to turn around the PC market is in doubt, not all PC devices are seeing the same declining sales.
Market research firm ABI Research this week released a new report showing that 2.1 million Chromebooks were shipped during 2013. Chromebooks are low-priced notebooks designed around Google's Chrome operating system.
The firm's numbers show that almost 89% of last year's Chromebook shipments were to North America - a mature market that is already showing signs of saturation in the mobile device market. ABI points to the low average sale price of Chrombooks as the competitive force that is propelling the segment well past higher-priced traditional notebooks and PCs.
“ABI Research tracked Chromebooks across six regions and found the average selling price (ASP) to be US$338,” said Stephanie Van Vactor, research analyst at ABI. “This truly budget-driven device is a disruptive force to the portable PC market.”
Of course, Chromebooks are one of the few bright spots in the overall declining PC market. The new report shows that only the "ultraportable" notebook segment also managed growth in 2013, though only slight growth. Even then, the average sale price of ultraportable PCs was seen declining by a significant 7.4% last year, cutting manufacturer's margins even thinner.
Given the trends seen in this data, it isn't hard to predict where the consumer market for PCs will be headed in the coming years. ABI predicts that lower prices, greater connectivity, and a wider reliance on cloud services - all features integral to Chromebooks - will drive the PC market in the future. The report also mentions that the coming death of the popular Windows XP operating system could also have a large effect on the PC market in the coming year.
Image via Acer