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Mobile PCs on Track for 18% Growth in K-12 Education This Year

K-12 Mobile PC Devices Market Insights, Analysis and Commentary

​The market for mobile PC computing in education continues to thrive, outperforming expectations as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales of these devices are skyrocketing, with K-12 demand escalating and global shipments forecast to increase by more than 18% this year, according to a new education and personal computing report from Futuresource Consulting.

“That’s a total of 36 million units which we expect to ship into K-12 education in 2020,” says Michael Boreham, Senior Consultant at Futuresource Consulting, “boosted by emergency funding like the CARES Act and the GEER fund, which have collectively delivered around $16 billion in the USA, UK and Germany for device deployment. This groundswell of funding, combined with finances being redirected from other areas, has been a major boom for the industry and shows no signs of slowing. However, this fast-tracked demand is putting pressure on an already beleaguered supply chain, outstripping the ability to deliver, but given the circumstances, that’s not a bad problem to have.”

Supply Chain Challenges and Shortages Soon to be Resolved

During the first half of the year, the distribution network and channel have experienced rapidly depleted stock. Chinese OEMs are still not operating at full capacity, and component shortages coupled with extended transportation times due to reliance on sea freight are all causing delays between order placement and delivery. However, most shipments are expected to get back on track during Q3, with device demand continuing throughout the year.

A World of Opportunity

“As schools clamour to equip students and teachers with devices for remote teaching and home learning, the outlook for the second half of 2020 is extremely buoyant,” says Boreham. “Industry efforts and successes over the last few months have built a strong base from which future profits can be made. Although many countries and provinces have yet to reopen schools, many more are now moving to a hybrid model. This will see reduced-capacity classrooms being blended with temporary classrooms and home study, all equipped with mobile devices to connect the children to a single teacher. Some schools are also bringing purchases forward, activating projects that may have been previously scheduled for 2021 and 2022. What’s more, some schools are adopting digital teaching techniques for the first time, further extending the addressable market.”

The market will also be sustained by OEM stock build and device purchases ahead of a potential second COVID-19 wave during winter 2020/2021. Continued government investment in mobile devices in Germany, the UK and elsewhere, along with a major one-to-one device project that is ongoing in Japan will also add to the market momentum.

Google, Apple and Microsoft All Playing their Part

“Looking to the megabrands, Google, Apple and Microsoft have all ramped up activities in distance learning since Q1,” says Boreham. “Microsoft is relaxing its screen size requirements for its Shape the Future program, which allows K-12 education institutions greater freedom to purchase devices with discounted Windows licenses. It has also made Minecraft Education Edition free of charge for teachers and students with Microsoft 365 Education accounts. Meanwhile, Apple has supported student online access equity in Canada and New York with cellular-based iPad access, and Google is offering advanced meetings functionality for G Suite for Education free of charge for the remainder of the school year.”

Rather than being hindered by the challenges of COVID-19, the K-12 personal computing market is embracing the opportunity and is on track for continued growth. In 2021, Futuresource expects global shipments to increase by a further 15%, achieving 41 million units, and helped along by major project deliveries in Japan, Germany and Kenya.

For further information on Futuresource Consulting’s new K-12 Personal Computing Market Track Q1 2020 Worldwide report, please contact Matthew Ledgerwood via

Date Published:

Michael Boreham

About the author

Michael Boreham

Michael joined Futuresource Consulting in 1990 and is a Business Studies graduate from the University of Bedfordshire. Michael is a member of the Education team and leads the research and analysis in the K-12 PC Market.

Michael is involved with creating quarterly reports on the development of the Global Mobile PC Market. In previous roles Michael was part of the Home Entertainment team tracking content global industry developments and was part of the Futuresource team monitoring the emergence of Virtual Reality.

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