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PC sales spike during back to school season, led by Macs and Chromebooks

According to NPD Group, a market research firm, PC sales rose during the back to school season this year by three percent.

That surge was led by Macs and Chromebooks, NPD’s findings indicate. This year, sales of Mac computers accounted for 26.8 percent of total PC sales during the 2014 back to school season. Chrome OS-based computers took up 4.5 percent of the pie, while Windows-based machines made up 68.4 percent of such sales.

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NPD says that sales of Apple notebooks rose 16 percent this year over the 2013 back to school session, while Windows desktops shot up two percent after experiencing a 12 percent decline during the same stretch of time in 2013. Chromebooks enjoyed the biggest spike of all (32 percent) this year.

Both Macs and Chrome OS machines sold better during the 2014 back to school period than they did during the same season in 2013. NPD Group states that in 2013, 24.2 percent of sales were of Mac computers, while Chrome OS and Windows systems occupied 3.3 percent and 72.3 percent of the pie, respectively. So, this year, sales of Mac and Chrome OS computers spiked during this year’s back to school period, while Windows-based rigs fell.

“After a slow start, aggressive pricing and robust selection drove significant volumes towards the end of the Back-to-School season, making it a very strong year,” NPD Group exec Stephen Baker says. “Due to the success of the aggressive Windows notebook pricing during Back-to-School we could see a much more aggressive pricing strategy this holiday season as the seemingly stable PC volume environment emboldens the PC OEMs and the OS and chip suppliers to make a grab for market share while the industry remains relatively steady.”

It’s worth noting that the end of support for Windows XP may also have contributed to the rise in Windows desktop sales. NPD Group defines the back to school season as the week of July 4 through the week of Labor Day.

The availability of low-cost Windows laptops will only rise between now and the end of the year. One such example is HP’s Stream 14, which costs $299, and will begin to ship sometime around the holiday shopping season.