ambientAmbient Insight just released a new study and accompanying press release declaring, “The worldwide market for digital English language learning products reached $2.8 billion in 2015.” Beyond that, it projects that the market is poised to grow by nearly 36% to $3.8 billion by the year 2020.

Their report, titled 2015-2020 Digital English Language Learning Market (a sample of which can be viewed online), projects 5-year compounded annual growth rates (CAGR) for 120 nations around the world.

Ambient predicts the highest, and vast bulk of, revenues will still come from a handful of nations: China, the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Brazil. These will collectively account for 65% of global revenue. Yet growth rates in these nations, even including China and Brazil, are all relatively flat (less than 10%), and even negative in some cases. The fastest growth in both demand and supply will come from nations in Africa and by the rest of Asia. Ambient is predicting nations like Myanmar, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Laos and Ghana are best poised for growth increases (≥40%).

Demand-side analysis is broken out by buyer segments, such as consumer, corporate/business, PreK-12 and higher ed academics, local and national government. Supply-side analysis is broken out by product types: self-paced e-learning, collaboration-based learning, digital references, mobile learning apps and games, and mobile learning value-added services (VAS).

English-language education products are only a small fraction of the total worldwide language learning market. Ambient notes the global language learning market hit $54.1 billion in 2015, but cautions it will shrink to $51.9 billion by 2020. “The overall worldwide language learning market is gradually shrinking due to the adoption of cost-efficient technology-based products and the migration away from classroom and print products.” By that, they are obliquely referring to tools such as automated Machine Translation (MT) like Google Translate. They also specify their analysis is solely for English language-learning products, and excludes revenues from “localization, interpretation, translation, and other language-related services.”

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