Macbook Air M1Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

What you need to know

  • New research indicates that Chromebooks outsold Macs in 2020.
  • According to IDC, both macOS and Chrome OS grew at the expense of Windows last year.

Figures from IDC indicate that Chromebooks outsold the Mac in 2020 for the first time ever.

As reported by GeekWire:

New numbers show 2020 was the first year that Chromebooks outsold Macs, posting impressive market share gains at the expense of Windows. Computers powered by Google's Chrome OS have outsold Apple's computers in individual quarters before, but 2020 was the first full year that Chrome OS took second place. Microsoft's Windows still retained majority market share, but also took a big hit as both Chrome OS and macOS gained share.

The report comes from an IDC analyst Mike Shirer, who confirmed the findings to GeekWire.

Market ShareSource: IDC / GeekWire

As you can see from the above chart, it was a close race between Apple and Google for computer OS shares, but Chrome OS started to pull away towards the end of the year. Even though Chrome OS overtook macOS, both saw their market share expand in 2020 at the expense of Windows. From the report:

In Q1 2020, Apple and Google were neck-and-neck: Windows grabbed 87.5% market share, macOS took 5.8%, and Chrome OS captured 5.3%. But in Q2 2020, Windows fell to 81.7%, macOS grew to 7.6%, and Chrome OS jumped to 10.0%.

Q3 2020 and Q4 2020 confirmed the trend: Windows dropped further to 78.9% for Q3 and then 76.7% for Q4; macOS grew to 8.4% for Q3 and then fell back to 7.7% for Q4, while Chrome OS had 11.5% for Q3 and then 14.4% share for Q4. The Q4 results are particularly notable as the fourth quarter tends to be the biggest for PC shipments. While macOS widened its lead over Chrome OS in Q4 2019, Chrome OS came roaring back in Q4 2020.

Over the year, Windows saw its share fall 4.9% from 85.4% in 2019 to 80.5% in 2020. Chrome OS and macOS grew 4.4% and 0.8% to market shares of 10.8% and 7.5% respectively.