Editor’s note: As noted in the graph above, the numbers in this article refer only to the commercial channel, as NPD does not measure direct sales. Some of the language below has been updated to clarify this point.

A new release from the NPD Group indicates that notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS have gained significant ground in the past year, with Google’s free operating system managing to overtake Apple’s entire lineup of MacBooks for the first time. According to the statistics, Chromebooks outsold Apple’s notebooks in the consumer channel at an over five-to-one margin.

Of course, it should be noted that the numbers presented don’t take built-to-order machines into account, instead relying on sales of pre-configured options, but even with custom orders included the numbers indicate a significant shift in consumer notebook selection. Luckily for Apple, the biggest hit seems to be to Microsoft, whose notebooks lost a significant 8% of the market to Google.

That’s not to say Apple didn’t take a hit, though. Previously the Cupertino-based company’s notebooks held 2.6% of total computer sales. That number was nearly cut in half this year, with MacBooks claiming only 1.8% of the market.

Even on the tablet side, Apple has taken a small hit, with a loss of 1.3% of the market. However, the iPad still sits comfortably on top of the competition. Android-based tablets made big gains this year, more than doubling market share, but still hold only 8.7% of computer sales. In fact, even Windows-powered tablets have more than doubled in market share. Unfortunately for the folks in Redmond, that means their tablets now hold just over 2% of the overall commercial market instead of the previous .8%.

Overall, Apple lost a bit of of both the notebook and tablet markets, and while the company maintains its commanding lead in the tablet arena, Google—not Apple—seems to be more likely to someday knock Microsoft from the top of the notebook market.

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31 Responses to “iPad takes top spot in 2013 tablet market, but MacBooks lose out to Google-powered Chromebooks”

  1. eldernorm says:

    Market share means everything in the world. Profit means nothing. Cause pointing out that your company is losing more money per unit and shipping more units gives you boasting rights. Right?? /s

    Of course, shipping units of Samsung S4 (which recently did not convert to sales) recently caused Samsung much public shame when it was revealed how few they really sold.

    Maybe we should all adopt cockroaches as pets,,,,,, cause after all,,,,, they have the greatest market share!! Right?


  2. It confuses me why Apple is doing so poorly with sales of computers of late. I have never felt Apple was further ahead of Windows in technology and simplicity than today. Is it just a matter of price? It baffles me.


  3. rogifan says:

    How can anyone compare a MacBook Air or Pro to a $300 or less Chromebook? I’d love to see the data that shows someone was planning to buy $1000 Apple notebook but decided on a $300 Chromebook instead. What evidence do we have that Apple notebook sales are down because of Chromebooks? Considering the fact that Microsoft is running a Scroogled campaign against Chromebooks I think its a safe bet that people are buying a Chromebooks at the expense of cheap Windows laptops, not MacBook Airs or Pros.


  4. So according to NPD Group’s stats; for every person I know who owns a MacBook Air or Pro I should know about five times as many people who own and use a Chrome laptop PC? I probably know 2-3 people who owns Chrome laptops. MacBooks? I’d say about 50.


  5. I really hate these “statistics”! instead of looking at market share, they should be comparing apples to apples instead of apples to oranges. How about statistics for anyone that was in the market of spending $700 and up on laptops and the same for those below $700. going from these numbers though, it seems like its only a matter of time before desktops shrink to almost nothing and laptops/tablets take over as they become more sophisticated.


  6. Jack Zahran says:

    I don’t know anyone who owns a Chromebook. Sorry bunch of sham stats by a paid marketing company. Macbook Air is the #1 selling notebook. Period. Apple’s biggest issue right now is what are they going to do with their billions in profits.


  7. Tallest Skil says:

    Does anyone actually believe that Chromebooks sold? At all? It’s a web browser for an OS.


  8. Scott Adams says:

    In all my personal and business dealings with folks, most of which have laptops of some nature, I’ve never once met a person that owns a Chromebook or even mentioned one in passing. I doubt if most would have any idea what one is. I’ve never (knowingly) seen one in public.

    I realize personal ancedotes aren’t the equivalent of empirical facts and I suppose anything is possible, but these “numbers” are seriously suspect IMHO.


  9. kpom1 says:

    Somehow, I don’t think Apple is all that worried that sales of the $199 Chromebook are exceeding those of the MacBook line, which starts at $999. What seems to be happening is that the netbook crowd from a few years ago has found a replacement. The iPad is the more direct competitor to the Chromebook.


    • Tallest Skil says:

      >>The iPad is the more direct competitor to the Chromebook.

      Of course, the Chromebook can’t even run iTunes, and when people find that out they return them. Best Buy has had a slew of returns for that and many other reasons. It’s hilarious.


  10. Laughing_Boy48 says:

    All that matters to everyone is market share. Pollsters, Wall Street investors, analysts, industry pundits, etc. consider market share as the most important metric in running a business or dominating a platform. Get over it. The market share metric will never change when it comes to the tech community. There’s no way Apple can get props by trying to go head to head with Google and Android when it comes to selling the most product. Apple can’t pit a $1000 Mac Book against a $250 Chromebook and expect to win out in sals. At least the first time around, the Chromebook will easily win. Whether Chromebook owners will be satisfied and be repeat customers we’ll have to wait and see. The Chromebook eventually could go the way of the Windows netbook if users become dissatisfied.


  11. Pencils are more useful than Chromebooks and also sell in larger volume.


  12. rogifan says:

    I can see schools buying chromebooks but what business would?


  13. telecastle says:

    Chromebooks are this year’s netbooks. Just recall what happened to netbooks a couple years ago when iPad came out and killed that market share, and you will see what will happen to Chrimebooks. They cost 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of a MacBook not just because they run a free Google OS, but because they are made of junk. People will never learn that buying cheap is a waste of money. It’s also possible people are buying these for kids as their first laptop. I wonder why no one ever looks at the number of Leap Frogs sold. Would anyone seriously consider a Leap Frog to be a competition to MacBooks?


  14. Not at all surprised by the iPad, the Air is the device to have right now. All schools should be looking to these as learning tools (no Flash hence no flash games = engaged kids using the device as a tool not a toy. )

    By contrast: the day that Apple took the super drive out of the 15″ Macbook Pro range, many, including myself, stopped and thought, is the Macbook Pro really good value any more ? The 13″ is too small fo serious work. Through life costs (5 years) are only a little more, but you are actually being offered a much less versatile device. No upgrade this year, sticking with my old Macbook Pro for yet another year. (Year 6).


  15. Isn’t this the same NDP that claims PC gaming is next to dead because they only count physical boxed sales of games and ignore any and all digitally distributed ones from the likes of Steam, GoG, Ganersgate etc? Yes, I’m sure their numbers are super accurate and from a hugely broad cross section of the market! /s


  16. I find this persistent idiotic obsession with units sold really tiresome. As if these products were comparable ans as if Apple were in some kind of units sold competition !

    Apple make a premium product and comparing their products to cheap android crap is a pain in the ass and informing no one here on this site. It’s like having weekly bulletins on car sales that keep banging on about jaguar being outsold by American cars ! Lumping in every cheap lemon into the numbers.

    It is MEANINGLESS !!!


  17. Is this article link bait?
    1.)When has Apple’s business EVER been about market share or unit sales? How many times do Apple execs have to say it? The company is all about selling their users the best technology for the best experience.
    2.) Comparing Chromebooks to MacBooks is like comparing gas station donuts to French pastry.


  18. Wait, there’s actually people using Chromebook, something even Google don’t use?
    I start to wonder if Google form a shell corporation, sell some [Chromebook they sell] to the shell, and sell it back to Google + sell to shell each month until Amazon sell the one in the warehouse.
    It’s not like we can actually know how many Chromebook Google order for the sales.
    I just know Chromebook got a Enron style growth.


    • Jack Zahran says:

      You’re not to far from the truth. The Chromebook’s are first “sold” to aggregators/wholesalers. Every manufactured Chromebook is considered “sold” as soon as it ships to the wholesalers inventories. Google counts it as a sale. If the inventory is returned or liquidated, than Google has to take the Cost, or write-off, on their balance sheets. If you recall, it’s what Microsoft had to do with the Surface last year. It initially appeared that the Surface was doing major sales, only a year layer for Microsoft to have to write off virtually everyone made since they were sitting in inventory somewhere and never sold to end users.

      This is the same game Samsung plays, eventually heavily discounting their excess inventory. Apple’s sales are true sales to consumers by comparison. A key indicator to gaming of “sales” figures is when you see major discounts. It’s not for no reason that Apple never has to discount…


  19. Len Williams says:

    I don’t know a single person who owns a Chromebook.


  20. PMZanetti says:

    Yet another article that pretends Apple did worse because we compare real Apple sales to Google or Samsung or -insert-crap-manufacturer- ‘s numbers that they stuffed onto store shelves…most of which will be bought back at a loss in a few months.

    But in the meantime Google allegedly did “better”.