For the first time, Chromebook sales surpassed 51% in the K-12 market nationwide in the third quarter, according to a recent report by market researcher Futuresource Consulting. The surge reflects a fundamental shift in how American schools are buying tech in bulk and assessing students online, placing an emphasis on low-cost, easy-to-manage machines.
"It's a tidal wave: Chrome is the clear U.S. market leader now," says Mike Fisher, associate director of education technology at Futuresource. He says districts are drawn to the Chromebook’s Web-based operating system, ease of use, IT manageability and $200 to $300 price range.
Chromebooks -- laptops running Google's Chrome OS as their operating systems -- made significant strides, year over year. Chromebooks' market share jumped to 51% from 40%. Apple products, mostly iPads but also laptops and Mac desktops, declined to 24% from 32%. Windows-based machines remained steady at 23%.
Winning students at an early age is considered crucial for tech companies in the approximately $15 billion K-12 market in the U.S.