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Mobile PCs in Education Market Analysis and Commentary
09 Sep 2015 - The global uptake of personal computers within the K-12 education sector continues to grow with Q2 2015 providing the biggest quarter to date. Shipments reached more than 8.6 million units according to Futuresource's Personal Computing in K-12 Education Track – Q2 2015 report, which saw 'YoY' growth reach 4% globally when compared to the same period in 2014.
The US education market continues to grow strongly driven by the move to common core and online assessment which has led to large and wide scale buying of personal computers by districts. Chromebooks have continued their rise with more than 1.9 million shipped in the period April – June 2015, accounting for 49% of the total shipments to K-12 schools. Dell became the largest supplier of Chromebooks to the US K-12 education sector, replacing Acer as the leading supplier in Q2.
According to Phil Maddocks, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, "the uptake of Chromebooks within the US is being heavily driven by the rapid move to online assessment and digital learning for which students need devices." The once dominant tablet form factor continues to account for a significant portion of the market with Apple remaining the largest supplier. Apple has made significant changes to its device management capabilities, as well as offering iOS9 support to the iPad 2.
Chromebooks continued dominance within the US education market has come at a price. Competition continues to grow between platforms resulting in lower ASPs, with OEMs now focusing on lower end hardware both on the Chromebook and Windows platform. According to Futuresource's latest research, almost 52% of all devices purchased in the US in Q1 and Q2 2015 were under $300, which has increased significantly from 2013, where 25% of devices sold were under $300. Such a shift in price expectations in the market, also means that any potential announcement of a highly specified iPad geared towards business and education, an 'iPad Pro', (presuming the existing policy of limited bulk pricing is maintained) is unlikely to make a significant impact (unless there are significant additions to the management software and capabilities).
ASUS, Haier and Hisense have all released sub $200 Chromebooks within the US market, while Acer has announced sub $200 Windows 10 'Cloudbooks'. This lowering of price points is causing profit margins to fall on hardware leaving OEMs to look for other high margin solutions for the education sector. "Lowering price points and falling margins on device hardware have made it increasingly important for OEMs to focus on bolting on other value added services such as their software and storage offerings," comments Maddocks.
Outside of the US, Chromebooks have not seen the same level of adoption (the US accounts for 91% of shipments globally) as there is little online assessment and much less awareness and adoption of cloud solutions. There are also far more fragmented buying structures (especially in Western European markets) as well as a lack of connectivity in some countries. There have, however, been pockets of growth outside of the US, with uptake especially seen in Canada, UK, Sweden, Australia, Holland, and Taiwan.
Microsoft is expected to fight back in 2016 with Windows 10 based devices and has already seen some successful coups. Such as securing the major Mexico national tablet project away from Android based tablets and winning the latest round of the Bin Rashid Smart Learning project in the UAE with the Surface product, which will see Microsoft's share of the education market increase in 2015.
The Latin American territory continues to see major developments as numerous Ministries of Education continue to heavily invest in EdTech. Q2 saw large scale roll outs in Mexico and Venezuela specifically with deployments of 760,000 and 561,000 respectively. Further activity within the Latin American region is expected to continue throughout the rest of 2015.
The EMEA region saw more than 1.2 million personal computers shipped into the K-12 education market, a 23% decline on the same period in 2014. This decline is due to delays and changes to schedules but projects within the region are expected to take place later in 2015.
Asia saw a 41% drop in shipments 'YoY', down to 1.1 million units during Q2. One of the largest projects in 2014, Thailand's One Tablet per Child scheme, was cancelled last year after the change in government, and has been responsible for some of this decline.
Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. www.futuresource-consulting.com
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