The global K-12 personal computing market continues its ascendance, as pandemic initiatives influence the world of hybrid learning. Last year, demand reached a high of 50 million shipments, a record which will be broken again in 2021, according to the latest K-12 education tracker report from Futuresource Consulting.
Mobile PC growth is being driven by government stimulus packages in many markets, as well as ongoing activities to equip students and teachers for hybrid and distance learning. However, the supply chain issues which impacted the ability of OEMs to meet demand during 2020 persisted through the opening months of 2021. As a result, component shortages and problems with sea and air freight transportation capacities continue to create major bottlenecks and stretch delivery times.
“Despite the supply chain challenges, in the first quarter of 2021 we’ve seen global shipments expand by 149% year-on-year,” says Michael Boreham, Senior Consultant at Futuresource Consulting. “That’s resulted in more than 15 million units shipped, with the USA topping the buying charts, followed by Japan.
“We’ve also noted significant project activity in markets as diverse as Kazakhstan, Spain, Indonesia and South Korea during the opening months of the year. And Chromebooks continue to lead the way, accounting for close to half of all devices shipped during Q1, marking their fourth consecutive quarter of global market dominance.”
In addition to device provision, connectivity remains a major concern in many countries where fixed broadband availability is either too sparse or too costly. In the near-term, the connectivity gap has been partially addressed by a combination of dongles, mobile hot spots and LTE enabled tablets.
“With the pandemic now firmly in its second year, there’s more of an understanding about the tech specs needed to effectively implement hybrid learning,” says Boreham. “Last year kicked up a stampede for devices to equip students quickly, but it also allowed devices to be stress tested in situations that hadn’t previously been envisioned. Moving forward, we’re going to see improved device specification become part of the discussion, alongside more affordable connectivity solutions. It’s been recognised that the homework gap has to be bridged for everyone. Continuity of education must be maintained and no student can be left behind.”
Futuresource calculates global shipment volumes will reach 54 million units in 2021, with demand for mobile PCs staying strong throughout the forecast period. The firm also expects distance and hybrid learning to remain a characteristic of the K-12 segment moving forward, with schools continuing to expand their device pools to cater for future student intakes.
For more information on the Futuresource Consulting K-12 Personal Computing Worldwide Tracker or to make a purchase, please contact Matthew Ledgerwood.