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Global K-12 Mobile PC Education Market Continues Growth Momentum

Education Technology Research, Analysis and Commentary
Positive Outlook for the Global K-12 Education Market Projected in 2018 due to Large National Projects in Emerging Markets and the USA Maintaining Growth Momentum

Global sales of Mobile PCs* into the K-12 sector increased in the first quarter of 2018, with shipments growing 4% year-on-year, reaching 5.8 million units, up from 5.5 million in the first quarter of 2017. The largest growth came from the Asia Pacific and European regions. The slowdown in the rate of growth can be primarily explained by a smaller number of projects happening in the Middle East and Africa and Latin American region, which declined 41% and 14% year-on-year in unit terms respectively.

After a comparatively slow H2 2017, the US market bounced back in the first quarter of the year. Following a slow January, rising demand and large deliveries were seen in February and March. Shipments grew 10% year-on-year in the first quarter, with early indications suggesting a strong Q2 and a good outlook for the remainder of the year, as schools and districts look to refresh large fleets. The sub $300 price category continues to be a growing area of competition, with both Microsoft and Apple placing increased focus on lower cost devices to compete with value orientated Chromebooks.

Demand in the Rest of World (World excluding US) was steady in Q1, with volume growth of 0.23% year-on-year. Although the market was flat in the first quarter, key western markets continue to post growth and the outlook for the year remains positive. 2018 volumes are forecast to grow 10% to reach 32 million globally, due to large scale projects expected to take place in all regions. Declines in the first quarter in Latin America and Middle East are expected to be compensated by large deployments in Egypt, Venezuela and Uruguay later in the year. Volumes shipped in the Asia Pacific region grew 13% year-on-year, with key projects happening in India and South Korea, as well as a consistent buying season in Australasia. The education device market in Europe increased 14.3% in Q1 2018 when comparing to the previous year, this was due to multiple markets performing well including Benelux, France, Italy and Spain.

The OS Battle

When looking at shipments of devices by OS globally, Windows maintained its leadership position in the first quarter of 2018, accounting for 44% of shipments in the quarter. In the US, the Chrome OS continues to hold a majority share of the market powering 56% of devices shipped in Q1. Although Google remains the market leader, its growth trajectory has slowed in the last 12 months, as the market shows signs of maturity and many school districts enter the replacement cycle. The Canadian and Benelux markets, as well as advanced markets of Northern Europe and Australasia, are each seeing the rising adoption of Chromebooks in schools. Globally, the Chrome OS accounted for 29% of mobile PC devices shipped to K-12 schools in Q1 2018. Apple also had a strong quarter. iPad and MacBook sales each grew 15%+ year-on-year in the US market. Apple also grew share in several key European markets where demand for tablet solutions remains strong.

New Tablet Offerings

Recent months have seen the introduction of two new tablet products targeting the education market. March saw the announcement of Apple's new iPad, sporting Pencil support with a sub $300 price point for educators. May has seen shipments of the first Chrome powered tablet to the market in the form of Acer's Chromebook Tab 10. These announcements are expected to increase the number of schools considering the use of the form factor, with many using tablets for specialist use cases like robotics and the creative arts, in addition to a Notebook/Chromebook for text heavy applications.

As the mobile PC market continues to grow, the competition between these major platforms and device form factors is expected to intensify, creating challenges and opportunities for suppliers across the EdTech landscape.

*Data included as part of report – K-12 market only, institutional sales not including 'Bring your Own'. Mobile devices only, (Notebook/Mac, Netbook, Tablet, Chromebook) not including Desktops. Please note, the term 'device shipments' refers to sales of devices at a certain point in time. It is not and should not be used as an installed based data point. 

Date Published:

Simon Bryant

About the author

Simon Bryant

Simon became Director of Research in October 2017. Since joining the company in 2000 Simon has worked across imaging, data storage, entertainment, and most recently he headed up the company’s activities in Consumers Electronics.

Simon manages the company's continuous work in all aspects of CE, Entertainment, Imaging, Professional Displays and Education, with a focus TV displays, home AV, mobile, automotive and data-storage. In addition to managing the suite of continuous services, Simon is also a major contributor to various private client assignments.

Simon holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Business Management from Lancaster University.

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