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New K-12 Mobile PC Report Confirms 2018 Growth and Upbeat Future

Education Technology Research, Analysis and Commentary

The global K-12 mobile PC market continues to develop, with annual shipments exceeding 29 million units for the first time last year, according to the latest K-12 market report from Futuresource Consulting.

The report, which covers notebooks, Chromebooks, Chrome Tabs, netbooks and tablets in the compulsory education sector worldwide, shows a diverging global landscape, with many regional nuances.

Regional Challenges, Global Expansion

“We saw a slowdown in Latin America and APAC, which applied a limiting force to overall global growth in 2018,” says Ben Davis, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “However, this was more than offset by continued growth in North America and Western Europe, resulting in a global market expansion of 1.1% for the year.

“During Q4, global demand experienced a slight uptick in shipments, year-on-year, with concerns over the impact of the Intel chipset shortage during 2019, resulting in some device purchases being brought forward to ensure product availability. However, despite this, our research shows a healthy market expansion during 2019.”

Looking to the regions in Q4, the USA market posted year-on-year growth of 2%, at 2.1 million shipments. Both Windows and Chrome OS achieved year-on-year growth, although Mac OS experienced a slowdown. In terms of the form factors, both notebook and Chromebook shipments gathered pace compared with Q4 2017, though demand for tablets continued to falter, and Apple’s iPad saw a year-on-year decline.

Beyond the USA, total mobile device demand fell by almost 4% year-on-year, to 14 million units, although Q4 performance was broadly flat year-on-year at 3.3 million units worldwide.

In the MEA region, Q4 volumes were boosted by major project deployments, with significant tablet, notebook and Chromebook projects in Egypt, Djibouti and the UAE respectively during the closing months of the year. In Latin American countries, post-election political uncertainty has impacted on volumes, with budgets restricted and projects postponed.

Operating Systems Battle it Out

When comparing OS shipments, Windows has maintained market leadership throughout 2018, representing 40% of total shipments, a decline of 7% in unit volume over the previous year. However, despite maintaining the lead, Windows has continued to see its share eroded in some markets.

Demand for tablets is being impacted by the growing share of convertible devices within the education market. Despite this, Apple’s iPad shipments continue to grow in some territories especially those that have not yet moved at scale to 1:1 deployments and still rely heavily on a shared cart model like the UK, Germany and France.

The share of Android tablets continues to decline in most developed education markets, but low-cost tablet projects remain relevant in emerging markets. Shipments of 700,000 units to a central government education initiative helped to boost Android share in 2018.

Chrome continues to capture ground, growing its worldwide share to 35% during 2018. In the USA, Chrome grew to represent 60% of total shipments in 2018. The USA remains the largest Chromebook market worldwide, accounting for 85% of global Chrome OS shipments into the K-12 market during 2018. However, the rollout of devices in other territories has seen the USA’s share drop by two percentage points. Western Europe has been a strong region for growth this year with Chromebooks continuing to gain traction in K-12 markets in the Nordics, the Netherlands and Spain amongst others.

The Future of K-12 Mobile Devices

“Moving forward, as the penetration of mobile devices continues to expand, there will be increasing focus on what the OS supplier can offer beyond device functionality and price point,” says Davis. “Consequently, there will be growing emphasis on the platform application ecosystem and how each OS can be incorporated within existing learning and IT management solutions. The future is converging on the amount of incremental value that a device can deliver within teaching environments.

“All indicators on the market landscape are pointing to continued growth in 2019, with our forecasts showing total shipment growth of 9% year-on-year. Major projects in Brazil, Egypt, India and Africa are expected to drive demand, culminating in annual shipments of close to 32 million units worldwide.”

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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