Chromebook sales might not be as bad as rumored

by: Robert TriggsMarch 25, 2013

Acer C710-2055-2

It turns out that Chromebook sales may be better than we previously heard rumored, at least according to Acer. DigiTimes had reported that only about 500,000 Chromebooks have been sold in total so far. That’s a pretty troubling figure for the platform when you compare it to the 1.5 million tablets sold by Microsoft.

However Acer has stated that its Chromebooks are actually selling quite well, especially when it comes to the education market. This is no doubt thanks for the various deals and tech support packages offered to schools. As well as elementary and high schools, Acer commented that Chromebooks are particularly appealing to consumers looking for a low cost secondary device and families picking up cheap laptops for their children.

Ok but what about the actual figures? Well Acer weren’t specific about the exact numbers, only reporting that about 5-10% of its quarterly shipments come from Chromebooks. That’s not exactly a precise figure, and leaves any estimate calculations with a pretty big margin for error, but let’s try and figure out exactly how many Chromebooks Acer could have sold.

According to data collected by Forbes, Acer shipped out 4.1 million units into the market during the last year. This puts the number of Chromebooks sold at somewhere between 205,000 and 410,000 if you use the 5 and 10% boundaries for each quarter.

And this is just speculative sales from Acer; the initial DigiTimes rumor suspected that the total number of Chromebook sales was only around 500,000. If you take into consideration that HP, Samsung, and Google are also all selling their own devices then it looks like the Chromebook could actually have been a relative success so far, almost certainly surpassing the rumored figures.

Although Acer’s sales numbers still aren’t spectacular, was anyone really expecting the Chromebook to leap to the forefront of the market? Of course not. What this does mean is that the Chromebook is finally settling into its own segment of the market, and that continued expansions into education in particular could set the Chromebook up for a promising future as a cheap alternative to laptops and tablets.

Either way total Chromebook sales don’t appear to be as bad as previously speculated, and with the Chromebook Pixel evolving the platform further, things could go from strength to strength from here.

  • John Blossom

    Neither Digitimes nore this post have a lot of analysis. Amazon sales ranking showed Chromebooks on the top of the charts for months, toppled only by the debut of Windows 8 notebooks recently. The Acer Chromebook is their top-selling model on Amazon. While it’s hard to gauge momentum on these things right now. Chrome OS seems to have a solid beachhead and whereas Apple is trimming down its expected orders for iPad Mini I think that you can expect only more growth from Chrome OS.

    • And Amazon sales ranking doesn’t give any numbers either. Amazon could have sold 1,00 computers last month or 1,000,000. All we know is that Chrome is consistantly on top of whatever their sales numbers are.

    • It is still number one. Amazon briefly switched Chromebooks from best selling laptop category to best selling device category and back. I don’t think Windows 8 notebooks ever actually topped the leading Samsung Chromebook

    • CAC1031

      I think you mean that the Samsung Chromebook is their top-selling model–it has topped the best-sellers list for months. More indicative to me, though, is the very high number of reviews on Amazon that the Samsung has received and continues to receive on a daily basis. The $249 Samsung has had over 1,450 reviews (overwhelmingly positive) and the keep coming at an average of about 10 a day as far as I can see–that is highly unusual, apparently. The $200 Acer has fewer than 200 since December, so the Samsung has obviously sold in far greater numbers, at least through Amazon.

  • Ezequiel Gonzalez

    About 50,000 CR-48 distributed for free between December 2010 and June 2011. then the first generation of Samsung and Acer latter in 2011. Then the second Generation of Samsung in May 2012. Then the third Generation late in 2012, both Samsung and Acer. Then earlier this years the new devices announced by HP and Lenovo. And the Pixel for fully committed ChromeOS fans and ChromeOS web developers…. All in all I would put the total numbers of units distributed closer to the million. If not there yet, ChromeOS will get there soon.

    And lets not forget the laptops that has been converted to run ChromeOS (ChromiumOS, the developer version) thanks to hexxeh…

    Looking forward, you can be sure that the kinds using Chromebooks at school, will love to have one at home, and will net settle for something else.

    • It is closer to 4 million total in use based on web stats.

      That would be 500,000 Acer C7s sold in the last 100 days, and 1.5 million best selling list topping Samsung series 3 Chromebooks sold in the last 150 days, plus another 1 million other models mainly Samsung series 5 and series 550 Chromebooks sold mainly to education since last summer. That would tally with the 0.7% web usage and 700% growth rates indicated by web stats.

      Not huge, but as Acer and others have stated, it beats Windows 8 tablet sales despite no advertising, limited retail availability, and only two countries where it is being sold. The growth rate is phenomenal and is only getting started.

  • MasterMuffin

    Can you run Virtualbox/other similar thing on Chrome Os?

    • Stan

      You can run Ubuntu so in theory you can run Virtualbox too. I have Ubuntu running side by side with Chrome OS on my $249.00 Samsung Chromebook

    • Ezequiel Gonzalez

      On a Chromebook running ChromeOS you run the Chrome Browser and supportive extensions. Applications for the most part are installed elsewhere, in the cloud, you access them thru the Browser. You could, however, installed Ubuntu, or Debian, turning your Chromebook into a dual boot unit. Then under Ubuntu/Debian you should be able to installed any software/app available for Ubuntu or Debian. Virtualbox is available for Ubuntu/Debian, so you should be able to installed it there.

      However, VirtualBox uses a lot of memory and the Chromebox has just 2 gigas. Your better bet is to get the Acer 7 and upgrade the memory, up to 16 gigas, I heard, and then you will have plenty of room to install a full size Ubuntu/ Debian distro and run any program available for these distros, including Virtualbox.

    • ChromeOS, although lean and simplified is a full blown OS so you can run Linux as chroot under ChromeOS simultaneously, but like netbooks, the resources are shared with ChromeOS (RAM,disk space) and so is limited, so I wouldn’t recommend you buy it to run Linux the whole time. Also it is really for Linux Geeks, since a fair bit of technical skill is required.

      If you want to seriously run Linux, then you can install Linux as a replacement for ChromeOS or as a dual boot OS – again for geeks only. The Acer Chromebook is better for this because it has a 320GB HDD hard drive instrad of the 16GB SSD as on the Samsungs.

      • MasterMuffin

        Dual booting is easy, so I guess I’m a geek o.O

  • Morgan

    Actual numbers are far greater than what is sold on Amazon because business and education buy their chrome books directly from Google. Google probably outsells all of the manufacturers together.
    Secondly: to me it seems to be a stupid idea to consider installing a second OS. You are missing the point of cloud computing. If you want to play with your machine, then you need a laptop. Chromebooks are cloud computing appliances, not laptops. They are to computing what a toaster is to your kitchen: they do one simple thing well and reliably.

  • The 500,000 is Acer’s numbers alone – probably in the last 100 days. The 1.5 million Windows tablets sold is total sale worldwide while the 500,000 is one company – Acer alone, and Acer sold far more Chromebooks than they did Windows tablets.

    It is also interesting that the largest retailer in UK – Currys – PC World announced that Chromebooks account for 10% of their total computer sales. This without any advertising or promotion – and despite the fact that only a few showcase stores have their Chromebooks connected to the Internet, or have the most popular Acer C78 or Samsung Series models. If promoted properly and available more widely, Chromebooks will probably account for 30% of computers sold.

    • CyBrix_21

      Maybe Microsoft Tablets? Surface RTs and Surface Pros?

      • All the numbers are dodgy because there are no accurate totals, but Acer has actually confirmed its own sales are reaching 10% of all its computer sales, and Currys PC World – the largest electronics retailer in UK also confirmed that 10% of its total computer sales are Chromebooks. This is with only a few stores stocking the popular models no advertising and with Internet connectivity for the display Chromebooks. Based on this, they are selling very well, and if made more widely available and given wider availability 30% market share of the notebook should be reachable. Having said that, Windows tablets are sold (or rather not selling) at a far wider range of countries and retail outlets and with millions of pounds of advertising. Chromebooks are only sold in UK and US and only at a limited number of outlets.

        The other number being put about is that Chromebooks have grown 700% over last years sales (due to the competitively priced Chromebooks which were only available since last November), and 0.7% of the number of devices browsing the Internet. This probably gives a better idea of the overall picture. I believe that is also where the 1,500,000 Windows tablets total figure comes from. I means that there are 4,000,000 Chromebooks in use out there in total, most of of which were sold since November last year. That tallies with 500,000 being the Acer number in the last 100 days – Digitimes is a Taiwanese publication which probably got the numbers from an Acer employee – Acer being a Taiwanese company. The remaining 2,900,000 making up the 600% extra Chromebooks sold since last summer would be Samsung Chromebooks. Most of these would be Samsung’s $250 Sreies 3 Chromebooks which are selling faster than Acer’s $200 C7 as it tops the best sellers list continually on Amazon. However there would be lot of Samsung Chromebooks sold direct to schools (which don’t appear on Amazon or Currys PC World because they are sold through direct resellers, not through retail).

        It is only in this context that any of the numbers actually make sense. What the figures show is that Chromebooks are outselling Windows tablets in total numbers (although that is not much to boast about given the dire sales of Windows tablets). However the uptick of sales of Chromebooks is huge, and if sold more widely, Chromebooks – more countries, more outlets, they really will take a big chunk out of the Windows market.

        • CyBrix_21

          I don’t really think that… I can buy a decent Windows laptop for a price that is the same with the chromebook… With that I can have access to many apps already available with Windows…

          I think Chrome OS is not ready FOR NOW… But I think it will be developed and be improved…

          The fact that tablets don’t sell very much because it is expensive… But I don’t think it will be easy for Chromebook to take a big chunk from Windows… Laptops are becoming cheaper and cheaper…

          • You can’t get a Windows laptop for $250, and you can’t get a decent one for under $375, unless you are talking firesale or special offer, or second hand refurbished.

            Chromebooks are already 10% of sales for manufacturers and retail outlets stocking them – despite no advertising or promotion, they are cutting into Windows laptop sales, and so are tablets. Low end Windows netbooks and laptops are coming down in price, mainly to get rid of existing stock that won’t sell. Acer for example repurposed an existing (slightly more expensive) Windows budget laptop to ChromeOS to make the C7 Chromebook because the Windows versions of the same device weren’t selling.

          • CyBrix_21

            I can have an Atom-powered laptop for $250… And it is not a special offer.

            Maybe you don’t know where I am living…

            Also, people are considering the computer’s usability and not the price only… Also the availability, Chromebooks are not available in all places… But there are Windows laptop there…

            I know that ChromeOS have a chance… But it takes time… It will be not easy for Chromebooks to take a big chunk from a more stable OS, like Windows…

            And Linux is also there, a stable OS for free…

            Chromebook is cheaper because it has cheaper hardware… It has the same specs as smartphones and tablets, and they are selling more than this Chromebook… Also, Windows is more expensive than ChromeOS…

            I hope developers will make more apps for ChromeOS… I hope that ChromeOS will be more stable like Windows…

            But for now, we cannot depend on Chromebooks as our main laptop, we can use it as our secondary… For browsing and others… Because the OS is not powerful enough to use in our daily life…(except if you only use your computer for web browsing, watching movies, reading)

          • You do realize that the $250 Atom powered laptop you are talking about will be less than half the speed CPU/GPU of the $199 Acer C7 Chromebook, and will run even slower than that because you have an uber fat Windows OS cluttering it up plus fat local apps it will run much slower than that even.

            What power apps do you plan on running of your $250 Atom laptop? AutoCAD 2013? Photoshop? Chrysis 3? If you are, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

          • CyBrix_21

            Oh do you think you can do that on Chromebook?

            Not the newest version of photoshop… But I can run Photoshop CS5 (max) on an Atom laptop with 2 GB of RAM… Do you think ChromeOS has Autocad 2013? And heavy games?

            It will run slower (not very slow, it is ok), but remember, it is a true computer OS… Compare it with your Chromebook (I already said that it has a future, but you are really excited), what can you run? A browser OS?

            Oh wait, I can run light games for Windows (not just simple games)… And also, there’s Microsoft Office or Open Office if I want to… Also, a Movie maker… What other apps?

            Maybe those apps are already present in ChromeOS, but it is not the same experience and capability that is present in Windows…

          • proletaria

            Light gaming on a netbook? Now you’re just grabbing at straws. I have an HP Mini right here, it does not run games. It even hangs in excel documents of a moderate size, something my chromebook never does in google docs (which I can access offline).

            Furthermore, there are functional video and photo editing apps which are more than functional compared to trying to use gimp on an atom processor graphics netbook.

            Finally, as a linux laptop a chromebook is still superior to the netbook due to the intel atom processor having little to no functional open source documentation.

            In sum, where windows has more capability, most people won’t use it. And you will pay at least 3x as much money getting that capability in a profile that is anything like a chromebook.

          • CyBrix_21

            Oh you can play decent games on Chromebook?

            Wait for it to come…

            Wait… I can run Excel, Photoshop and light Video editing apps on my Atom Netbook…

            I can play decent games on my netbook…

            Also, you can install linux on a netbook if you want…

            I think it is easier to run Linux on a x86 processor than in ARM… (in Samsung)

            Also, the additional price of the netbook is for Windows.,, So if you don’t need Windows, you can buy a netbook running on DOS, then install Linux on it… I know there are many apps available on Linux and it is not only browser… I also found out that Linux run smoother than ChromeOS… Especially on Samsung Chromebook…

          • You are talking complete crap man.

            Although Chromebooks aren’t games machines, they make better games machines that Atom netbooks – they are about twice as fast CPU wise and twice as fast GPU wise. Atom chipsets have particularly slow and crappy graphics compared with everything else. Regarding Excel or Word, on your netbook, it will start up and run slowly, until your spreadsheet or document gets too large. Then it will crap out. On a Chromebook running Google Apps – no problem.

          • CyBrix_21

            So you refer on light tasks? Ok…. Chromebook can do that…

            So how about heavy tasks? Not those that you do with your phone? I don’t care if Windows and Atom will take it slowly… Because I know I can do more things, even not fast but more useful…

            I think ChromeOS is much closer to a mobile OS than a full blown OS like Windows for now… But I won’t be suprised if one day, ChromeOS will fight Windows to be the best computer OS…

            For now, I think ChromeOS needs time to develop… It is far from being used as a server computer for now…

            But, I think and I hope one thing that will make ChromeOS on top is its price and performance… Much better than a computer operating on a Linux… I know one day ChromeOS will be a full computer OS…

  • 11222

    I’ve had the $249 samsung chromebook for a week. it’s a great second computer. the browser is fast. the keyboard and trackpad are top notch. its very light and easy to lug around. my last 2 laptops were Macs. this time around I got an imac and use this as a data hub along with cloud storsge. I live in NYC so accessing the cloud when out-n-about is easy. some of the most harsh user reviews have come from knuckleheads who did not review the CB. one guy was upset he could not edit videos on the CB. also bestbuy was clueless when i went in to ask a few questions and the chromebook specialist was not there that day. I think once google opens their brick-n-mortor stores and develope a comprehensive marketing plan that The CB will sell really well. the CB is not for everyone. I’m looking forward to watching how google grows the chrome OS

  • jctmpt

    Of course it is as bad as remored.

    Who is stupid enough to buy a $300 browser??

    • proletaria

      Offline functionality has been massively improved since the days when chromeOS could legitimately be described as a glorified browser. Now that I have (Free) applications to do everything from programming to photo editing along side my docs, mail, and everything else I need for a day’s work… the people who spent $300 or more on a value-priced laptop (which will be slower in all respects) running a bloated OS are beginning to look pretty stupid, yes.

  • reichstag

    As a former Google representative inside Best Buy, I can assure you that sales vastly exceeded the quoted figures. Best Buy ordered millions of them, and we sold them all. Actually, every store in the country exhausted their weekly supply. Add in amazon sales, which carried us as the #1 selling computer on Amazon for over half a year…

    Sales vastly exceeded RT devices. We were lucky if we sold one per week. I’ve spoken with other former Google reps who corroborated those figures, and while I can’t cite internal reports, Chromebook sales wildly exceed Google’s expectations.

    Acer c7 sales numbered over 400K units, and Samsung sold more than double that. And we’re talking Q4 2012 alone, and only in the United States. That’s well over a million units, in 3 months, for a platform still in its infancy, excluding sales figures from other countries.

    Chromebooks have their doubters, but not everyone wants a complicated or feature-rich PC or Mac. Some people, who do nothing but Facebook, web surfing, and email (and make up the majority of the non-business computer users in the US) would rather spend 250 dollars than say, 400-600 for the exact same experience with what they will use it for.

    • reichstag

      And by one a week, I mean RT devices sold from store inventory. Nobody wanted them.

  • james braselton

    hi there i just got a chrom book a samsung version