Google’s cloud-based Chromebooks continue carving a niche for themselves — predominantly in the education sector, as a less expensive alternative for this group of users than the iPad, but also making inroads in the U.S. consumer market.

Analyst Gartner has just put out a new forecast for the Google OS laptops which predicts that worldwide sales of Chromebooks will grow 27 per cent year on year — with 7.3 million forecast to be purchased in 2015.

Last August, the analyst suggested Chromebooks would remain a niche market for the next five years, although its forecast then — of 5.2 million sold in 2014 — proved to be an underestimate. Its latest report notes 5.7 million of the devices being purchased last year.

For some wider PC market context, Gartner reported that worldwide PC shipments numbered almost 72 million units in the first quarter of this year (although Chromebooks aren’t included in Gartner’s PC figures).

Education remains the primary buyer of Chromebooks, accounting for 72 per cent of total sales last year according to Gartner’s latest data. It notes the majority of Chromebooks sales across all regions as being in the schools sector, with EMEA seeing the largest proportion of regional sales going to the education sector.
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--jeremy