The big picture: Chromebook adoption surged in 2020 as parents, educators and employers scrambled to equip students and employees with affordable computers in order to work from home during the pandemic. What's more, experts believe demand will remain elevated in 2021 as we enter the second year of the Covid era.

According to recently published data from market research firm Canalys, Chromebooks reached record shipment volumes of 11.2 million units in the fourth quarter, an incredible 287 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier (pre-pandemic).

The holiday performance, when combined with the other three quarters, pushed the full-year shipment total to 30.6 million units.

"Demand for Chromebooks is through the roof," said Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi. "With governments in many countries racing towards a much needed 1:1 device to student ratio, Chromebook demand for education is expected to remain strong through 2021."

Individually, HP led the way in Q4 2020 with 3.5 million Chromebooks shipped, followed by Lenovo with 2.8 million units moved. Dell, Acer and Samsung rounded out the top five with shipment volumes of 1.5 million, 1.4 million and 1.0 million, respectively.

Research firm Gartner saw it similarly in its mid-January report, logging 11.7 million Chromebooks shipped during the fourth quarter of 2020. The firm further said that "nearly 30 million units" were shipped collectively over the full year, fueled largely by demand from the education market in North America.

Masthead credit: Konstantin Savusia