COVID-19 has been the catalyst to a sea change in the use of technology within schools as lock downs, distance and hybrid learning have become part of everyday life.
This has kickstarted an unprecedented level of government investment in countries as diverse as the US, the UK, Peru and Kazakhstan, as well as being the accelerant behind the GIGA project in Japan, which concentrated five years of planned investment activity into less than 12 months.
Consequently, according to Futuresource Consulting, 2020 saw unprecedented growth in mobile PC demand to the K-12 market, with global demand expanding by 69% over 2019 to reach 51 million units. Furthermore, demand increased by 209% year-on-year during calendar Q4, with shipments of 16.5 million units during the closing months of the year.
2020 also saw a shift in OS share with Chrome capturing global leadership, with a share of 44% over the calendar year driven by strong Chromebook demand in the USA and Japan. Windows held a 32% share of global shipments.
“The year has also been characterised by supply chain issues, both in terms of device assembly capacity and component parts. This, combined with continued ramp up in demand, has resulted in lengthening delivery times and the build-up of a large backlog of orders which extends well into 2021,” commented Michael Boreham, Senior Consultant at Futuresource Consulting.
“With demand outstripping supply and delivery times elongated, some schools are electing to keep older devices in use much longer to ensure students have access to a device. The whole supply chain has been strained like never before. In addition, the adoption of mobile PC’s has fuelled rapid uptake in G-Suite/Google Classroom and Microsoft 365,” added Boreham.
Additionally, the roll out of devices has also highlighted a number of issues, notably around student connectivity. In the short term this has been resolved by a range of initiatives, such as shipping devices with dongles or mobile hot spots. However, 2021 will begin to see OEM’s roll out LTE based devices for the K-12 market.
Furthermore, the rapid wave of technology adoption highlights a continued requirement for investment in teacher training to best utilise technology in remote learning.
The Futuresource K-12 Education PC market reviews market performance in Q4 2020, but also looks ahead to the next 5 years.