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Chromebook shipments remain strong in 1Q21
Jim Hsiao, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0

Chromebook shipments worldwide remained at above 10 million units in the first quarter of 2021, despite an around 9% sequential decrease, according to Digitimes Research's figures.

The volume went up more than 280% on year, though.

Notebook shipments to the education procurement segment in 2020 were significantly driven up by the stay-at-home economy with Chromebooks, which accounted for over 60% of the volumes, seeing shipments surpass 30 million units in the year.

Among major Chromebook brands, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Samsung Electronics and Asustek Computer all achieved new quarterly shipment records for the education devices in the first quarter, while shipments of models powered by MediaTek's Arm-based solutions also hit more than 1.5 million units in the quarter.

Digitimes Research's latest figures from its Notebook Tracker show global notebook shipments arrived at 57.51 million units in the first quarter of 2021, down 8.7% sequentially, much better than the average sequential decline of 15% experienced in the past years.

The significant performance in the first quarter of 2021 was driven primarily by gaming and education notebooks as well as Apple's MacBooks.

Asustek and Micro-Star International (MSI) both saw increased gaming notebook shipments in the first quarter of 2021, while GPUs and high-end mobile CPUs used in these devices were in serious shortage with pricing rising.

TN panels in 11.6-inch size and SD resolution, the most adopted screens among education notebooks, are currently experiencing the worst short supply and having the highest price hikes compared to other panels. Related timing controller (TCON), display driver IC (DDIC) and power management ICs (PMIC) are also in tight supply at the moment.

Apple shipped more than five million MacBooks in the first quarter of 2021, up 150% on year, while over 50% of the volumes were models adopting the in-house developed M1 processor, Digitimes Research's data shows.

Although component shortages are likely to worsen, strong demand from the education procurement segment and low inventory levels at US and Europeean retail channels will prompt brand vendors to increase their order pull-ins in the second quarter of 2021 and reach 63 million units, up 10% sequentially.

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