Global ESL Market Doubles in Size After COVID

New research shows that the global ESL market is double-sized after COVID, with its online share for kids reaching $3 billion in 2021.

Total Global Online ESL Market

A new research conducted in March-June 2021 by global management consulting firm, J’son & Partners, reveals that the total global online English-as-a-second language (ESL) learning market will grow to $10 billion this year, and its segment for children of all ages to $3 billion. In 2021, the market for English language learning (traditional offline and online learning) hit a record 1.72 billion learners, and its size has doubled since 2018 reaching $44 billion.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the digital learning and language learning market which has led to a dramatic increase in online education users and overall market growth,” says Maxim Azarov, founder of Novakid, an online English School for children ages 4-12, one of the companies assessed in J’son & Partners’ study and received top position. According to the research, pandemic regime 2020 influenced from 1.4 to 1.6 bn students and 2.6 bn jobless, job-seeking or home-sitting workforce, and forced them online. “Another main factor driving this growth is the acceptance of English as a global language, with nearly 20 percent of the world’s population speaking English,” adds Azarov.


How the Pandemic Affected the ESL Market


Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for English Language Learning was estimated at $9.6 billion in the year 2020, and it is projected to reach a revised size of $27 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 15.8% over the period 2020-2027. (Source: English Language Learning – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics – Global Industry Analysts, Inc.)

Europe is the region with the highest level of English proficiency, with approximately 97% of secondary school students in Europe learning English. This is the result of years of effort by European Ministries of Education and the European Commission to promote multilingualism. The largest markets for learning English as a second language are Germany, France and Russia, and the countries with the highest levels of English proficiency (over 80%) are Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Russia, Turkey and Ukraine have the smallest share of English speakers (12-16%).


Offline Vs Online


In their research study J’son & Partners Consulting reviewed the total offline and online ESL learning market, analyzed more than 90 global and local online schools with different business models and focused on a segment of teacher-assisted online English learning for children up to 14 years old. They reviewed online ESL audiences in detail from 36 European countries and assessed online schools operating in those countries. During the study, J’son & Partners collected and analyzed macroeconomics data, country level market estimations, companies’ information, as well as supporting public materials and sources.


The study estimated the state of English Learning Market and ESL online schools and trends for children aged 0-14 (in the B2C segment: Teacher-to-Kid learning). The analysis included companies’ information, customer reviews from numerous sources, as well as international and local teachers’ views of online schools where they teach.