Monday, February 25, 2013

How Big is the Training & Elearning Market?

One of the questions I often get asked is 'how big is the corporate training market' and more specifically the size of elearning market. I have been doing monthly elearning market reviews for Kineo now for over 7 years and I thought it might be helpful to summarise what the various market research reports say about the corporate training market and the proportion of this accounted for by elearning.

Global Corporate Training Market

The global corporate training market was estimated at $287bn in 2011 by with a forecast that this would grow to $292bn in 2012. IBIS by comparison estimated the global corporate training market to be $200bn.

US Corporate Training Market

The US corporate training market in 2011 was estimated at $156bn by ASTD and $130bn by Both though forecast growth in 2012 and Bersin forecast significant growth in 2012.

Elearning Spend 

ASTD estimate that 37% of US training spend is on elearning but over 50% in the best companies. IBIS estimate that globally elearning is only $26bn or 13% of all training expenditure, Ambient estimate the global elearning market was $35bn in 2011 . The lower proportion of elearning spend globally might simply be because the US is ahead in its adoption of elearning.

All forecasters predict a continual shift from classroom based training to elearning and blended solutions.and hence greater investment in elearning over the next five years. IBIS estimate that globally elearning expenditure will increase by 23% per annum but only by 8% per annum in corporates. Ambient also forecast a growth in corporate elearning expenditure globally of 7.6% per annum. This varies significantly by country with much faster growth in Asia.

Training Spend Internally and Externally

ASTD estimate that 56% of corporate training spend in the US is internal with 44% external. estimate that 58% of corporate training spend in the US is internal and 42% external. They also estimate that 5% of spend is on managed training services. Bersin's recent analysis suggests that companies are going to reduce external training spend as part of a requirement to control costs.

Market Consensus

Whilst there are differences in the numbers, the views on the overall scale of the corporate training market and the key trends are remarkably consistent. So it is fair to assume in broad terms:
  • a global corporate training market of between $250bn and $300bn
  • a US corporate training market in the region of $150bn
  • elearning spend as a proportion of corporate training of 35% plus in the US and less than 20% globally 
  • higher growth in corporate elearning expenditure outside the US, around 8% per annum average globally
  • around 45% of spending on training and elearning is external