Global Online English Education

 

The global market for digital English language learning products reached $1.8 billion in 2013. The worldwide five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 11.1% and revenues will surge to $3.1 billion by 2018. 

Ambient Insight has revised our international forecasts for digital English language learning products significantly upward from previous forecasts. Revenues will more than double over the forecast period in 51 of the 98 countries. This report provides five-year digital English language learning product forecasts for 98 countries in seven regions: 16 countries in Africa, 20 countries in Asia, 9 countries in Eastern Europe, 15 countries in Latin America, 12 countries in the Middle East, 2 countries in North America, and 24 countries in Western Europe. 

 

 

In terms of growth rates, the regions with the highest growth rates are Africa, Asia, and Latin America at 20.5%, 14.2%, and 13.8%, respectively. The growth rates in the Middle East and Eastern Europe are also quite healthy at 13.2% and 12.9%, respectively. 

Africa has the highest regional growth rate for digital English products in the world. Revenues reached $19.5 million in 2013 and will more than double to $49.5 million in 2018. The revenues in Asia will climb to $1.6 billion by 2018, up from the $863.1 million reached in 2013. In Latin America, revenues will almost double to $260.9 million by 2018, up from the $136.2 million reached in 2013. Revenues for digital English language learning products in the Middle East will spike to $215.7 million by 2018, up from the $116.1 million reached in 2013. Revenues in Eastern Europe reached $58.7 million in 2013; revenues will surge to $107.6 million by 2018.

Growth rates in Western Europe and North America appear to be low only if they are compared to the other regions. These two regions are the most mature markets with well-established revenue streams and spending will remain steady.

 

Figure 1 - 2013-2018 Worldwide Digital English Language Learning

Five year Growth Rates in by Region

The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for digital English language learning products in Western Europe is 4.5%. Revenues reached $343.8 million in 2013 and will grow to $428.6 million by 2018. Western Europe and North America are the second and third largest buying regions after Asia throughout the forecast period. Ambient Insight’s The 2013-2018 Worldwide Market for Digital English Language Learning Products. Premium Edition For more information about this research, email: info@ambientinsight.com 17 The growth rate for digital English language learning products in North America is 5.3%. Revenues reached $318.1 million in 2013 and will spike to $410.9 million by 2018. In November 2013, Cambridge University Press reported in their annual financial report that "Nearly 90 per cent of the Press’ sales were from outside the UK, and as growth slows in some Western European and the North American markets, opportunities in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia are increasing. Sales to schools in South Africa grew hugely, linked to the new curriculum, and China, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all saw significant sales successes."

The top buying countries throughout the forecast period are China, the US, South Korea, Japan, and Brazil. In 2013, China barely edged out the United States to become the top digital English language learning buying country in the world. By 2018, Brazil will overtake Japan to become the fourth-largest buying country and the Russian Federation will overtake India to become the sixth-largest buying country. What is interesting about the top buying countries in 2018 is the emergence of Indonesia, Poland, and Malaysia. These countries now represent significant revenue opportunities for suppliers. These countries will be outspending countries with more mature markets like France, Germany, and Sweden, which will all fall off the top fifteen list.

 

Table 1 - Top Fifteen Digital English Language Learning

Buying Countries for 2013 and 2018.

In terms of revenue growth, the countries with the highest growth rates are Sri Lanka, Thailand, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Mozambique, Malaysia, Kenya, Laos, Indonesia, and Uganda. All of these countries have growth rates that are more than three times higher than the aggregate global growth rate. 

Ghana, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Angola, and Vietnam all have growth rates above 30%. What is striking about this roster is that all of these countries are in either Asia or Africa.

Of the 98 countries analyzed in this report, 24 have growth rates that are more than twice the size of the aggregate global growth rate. All of these countries are located outside Western Europe and North America.


Figure 2 - 2013-2018 Top Ten Worldwide Digital English Language

Learning Five-year Growth Rates by Country

It should be noted that 16 of the countries in this report have flat-to negative growth rates. There are a variety of trends that are influencing these low growth rates including government policies. For example, several government-operated school systems mandate the use of free Open Educational Resources (OER) or develop their own instructional material reducing the revenues opportunities for commercial suppliers. That said, even in countries that promote OER, commercial language learning products are often in high demand. 

Ironically, one trend inhibiting the growth rates for commercial English language learning products is fluency. The growth rate for digital English language learning products in Sweden is negative at -1.4%. Almost all of the revenue is generated by sales to primary and secondary schools. 

Swedish students are fluent in written and spoken English by the time they leave high school. Consequently, there is virtually no consumer demand for digital English language learning in Sweden. 

The market conditions are similar in the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, and Norway. In all of these countries, there is significant spending in the PreK-12 segments, but very little in the consumer segments.