Windows PCs getting priority has tightened Chromebook supply, says IDC

Office 2021 Windows11
Office 2021 Windows11 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The global chip shortage of the past two years has left many vendors and suppliers unable to meet demands.
  • As a result of the shortage, certain devices have been prioritized over others.
  • According to IDC, such was the case with Windows PCs, which gained priority over Chromebooks when it came to securing components for manufacturing in 2021.

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there thanks to the global chip shortage that's been complicating supply chains across industries for approximately two years now. And when vendors have to pick between allocating components for Chromebooks or Windows PCs, it looks like the latter camp wins.

According to a new report by IDC, Chromebook shipments saw a 63.6% year-over-year (YoY) decline in the fourth quarter of 2021. Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager for IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers team, attributed the decline in part due to Chromebook demand having been more or less satisfied in Europe and the U.S. However, he also pinned a chunk of the decline on Windows devices edging out Chromebooks.

"Supply has also been unusually tight for Chromebooks as component shortages have led vendors to prioritize Windows machines due to their higher price tags, further suppressing Chromebook shipments on a global scale," Ubrani said.

It's true that 2021 was a big year for PCs in terms of units shipped. Not to mention, Windows 11's arrival in October certainly helped PCs secure a spotlight in the public eye for the fourth quarter of the year. Never forget how much marketing Microsoft did to make sure that Windows was at the forefront of everyone's minds.

It's unclear how long the component crisis will result in vendors prioritizing certain products over others, but one thing's for certain: When it comes to the global chip shortage, we're not out of the woods yet.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to