Why the Business English training market is projected to reach $12 billion by 2026

Why the Business English training market is projected to reach $12 billion by 2026

Published: Apr 9, 2023 | By: Lucas Weaver

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The total global market for Business English training is expected to grow from $4.6 to $11.8 billion from 2021 to 2026, based on the current pace. 

This annual growth rate of nearly 10% shows that professionals across the world have identified a major opportunity for enhancing their careers, and they’re willing to pay to make the investment in themselves.

But it’s not only about global demand. The post-pandemic boom of online learning and rapid increase in learning technologies has made language learning more accessible than ever due to online language learning providers.

Demand as the driving force for Business English market growth

Of course as we all remember from our university Economics courses, high consumer demand is the catalyst for any market growth. If people weren’t actively seeking Business English training, providers wouldn’t be trying to create online Business English courses or any of the other many options available today.

What’s driving that demand today is the growing globalization of business and commerce. The term “globalization” has many discussions attached to it, but there’s no doubt that the interconnectedness of the world that we experience today is not going anywhere.

Companies from different countries communicate with each other on a daily basis. Marketing firms in the U.S. speak with cosmetics companies in Korea, and designers in France speak with manufacturers in Vietnam.

Consider just how much the number of multinational corporations (MNCs) has increased. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), there were around 7,000 MNCs in the world in the 1970s. By 2018, that number had grown to an eye-popping 104,000+.

Looking at the impact of that expansion on the global economy, a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO) showed that global trade has grown from $4 trillion in 1990 to more than $19 trillion in 2019.

why Business English market is growing

The role of English as lingua franca in international business

I’ve written extensively about the emergence and domination of English on the world stage. Despite the resistance of some European leaders, this status has no chance of changing.

Consider the fact that China is expected to make up over 40% of the global increase of the Business English language learning market, then consider the likelihood that they will invest in any language other than English or Mandarin. 

If you work a white-collar job in 2023, chances are you need English in your job at least a few times a week. Communication with English-speaking clients, colleagues, and partners, all contribute to this. Especially when you consider that “English-speaking” can be people from Germany, France, Spain, Japan, or Dubai.

Advantages for individuals seeking career advancement and job opportunities.

Discussion of the global nature of business and the importance of English as a lingua franca.

Examples of countries with high demand for Business English courses, such as China, Japan, and South Korea.

Technology as a catalyst for growth

Do I even have to explain how technology has impacted the world via the internet lately? Just go to Twitter and try and scroll past 10 posts without seeing the words “ChatGPT.”

When I started my first online company in 2011, I hired a freelancer in India to create my logo. Yesterday, I created two logos for new side projects using an AI icon generation tool. What a world it is for anyone doing online business today.

The impact of technology on business today is so vast that there are entire books dedicated to the subject. The impact on the Business English learning marketplace is no less affected. 

Today you can take online private English lessons from a teacher across the world from you for half the price people used to pay for private in-person tutors in their same city.

Want to take a group online English course and have classmates from anywhere on the planet? Also possible in 2023. Not only possible, it’s easy.

Business English course market

Availability of online courses and resources

Look at the specific example of self-paced and personalized learning. According to a report by Ambient Insight, the self-paced e-learning market is expected to reach $51.5 billion by 2026.

That’s billion with a ‘b.’ 10 years ago my university was just starting to offer a few e-learning courses for a few select programs.

Use of mobile apps for language learning

Everyone knows Duolingo, which has more than 500 million users worldwide. In fact, most millennials in the West have probably tried at least one lesson from it. I consider Duolingo to be more of a product for “hobbyist” or casual language learners, however, their enormous size can’t be ignored as it shows the appetite for language learning in general.

In 2020, Duoling raised $35 million in a series H funding round, bringing its valuation to $2.4 billion.

Why should you care?

But why should you care about this Business English market explosion? Well for starters, this type of market movement is what shows a change in foundational structures vs. just a fad.

If you were someone who was on the fence about investing in the time you’ll need to improve your Business English, this is something that should make you take notice.

Technology is making international business easier in some ways without necessarily even needing to speak English. Apps like Google Translate get more accurate every day. 

Further, more and more services and devices are likely to be developed as technology gets cheaper and more capable.

However, with all of those things being true, more and more people than ever are still signing up for courses to improve their Business English.

Why are they doing that?

increase of Business English classes

In-person contact and relationships matter

Often times we make business decisions based on how we feel. Quite frequently we’ll have multiple business deals in front of us that all make “business” sense. The terms of one deal might actually be more favorable than the other, but we might go with the less favorable one just because we feel better about the company offering it to us.

Humans are this way for a whole host of evolutionary and neurobiological reasons, but for better or worse, it is the way we are. This means that when it comes to succeeding in business, how people feel about you makes a significant difference.

If you’re using Business English to try and get new clients, keep current clients happy, or get existing clients to do more business with you, being able to communicate with them in the most sincere and authentic way is a major bonus.

Alternatively, if you’re trying to get a job at an international company, how you’re perceived in a job interview may matter more than your CV. How well you can communicate who you are as a person, and why you’re the best fit for the job could be the difference between you getting the job or not.

English is only getting more important

Whether native English speakers like it or not, we’re starting to lose ownership of the English language. In my personal opinion, that’s a good thing.

When the U.K. decided to leave the EU in 2016, many bureaucrats in Brussels began bickering aobut whether the EU should change to French or German for their primary langauge of communication now that none of the member countries had English as their official language.

If you’ve followed any of the major storylines related to the EU in the past decade, you can imagine that this initiative didn’t make it very far, and English is still the most used language in the commission.

But I was arguing almost immediately that the fact that the U.K. had left the EU had made it even more ideal for English to be the primary language of the commission. Now every country was speaking its second language, and no country had an advantage over another.

This to me is one of the best examples of the incredible utility that English provides the world as a go-to Lingua Franca. And as more and more of these use cases arise, the more you start to see a form of an “International English” take shape.

I will argue in other articles that this needs to go even further in the form of an actualy “official” international English standardization, but let’s table it for now.

For now what’s important is that as the world begins to take ownership of the English language and treat it as its own, the less roadblocks there will be to international communication in the future.

And of course, that will only lead to further expansion of the Business English market.

rise in Business English courses

How Business English courses benefit professionals

Many people choose to take Business English courses to enhance their communication skills, which is vital in today's globalized world where businesses operate across borders, cultures, and time zones. These courses can improve your fluency and confidence in English, allowing you to communicate more efficiently with clients, colleagues, and others from all over the world.

Improve your career opportunities

On top of that, taking a Business English course can also boost your career prospects. With many companies requiring their employees to have excellent English skills, particularly in roles that require communication with international clients or colleagues, improving your language abilities in these settings can make you more competitive in the job market and open up new career opportunities.

Professional development

And if the above isn’t reason enough for you, these courses can also help you develop professionally, improving your ability to write effective emails, reports, and other business documents in English. Improving your writing skills can enhance your credibility in the workplace and help you build better relationships with clients, colleagues, and bosses.

International cultural understanding

And one less often considered benefit of studying Business English is the exposure to and improved understanding of other cultures. By learning about different countries' communication styles and languages, you can develop an appreciation for cultural differences that can improve your ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

My specialized Business English course

A student once commented about one of my Business English courses that it was like a “mini-MBA.” This was high praise and kind words. And while I don’t agree with him that my course is that developed, it certainly has much more in-depth business content than any other course I’ve ever seen.

If you find a course like mine which puts as much emphasis on the “business” part of Business English, then you can certainly improve your knowledge of business in general, which can certainly help you advance in your career.

What will you do next?

As you’ve already read in this post, the Business English learning market is exploding, and international professionals just like you are taking advantage.

What will you do? Will jump on board the train and take advantage of all the benefits these courses have to offer? Or will you sit on the sidelines and watch how it all plays out?

With all of the opportunities available to you through the vast range of choices and prices, the choice is truly yours.

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Lucas Weaver from the Weaver School

Lucas Weaver founded The Weaver School in 2016. He's passionate about using the latest learnings in neuroscience and education to create the best language learning experience possible for our students, so they can quickly build effective language learning habits that will last for years. Lucas is a graduate of Texas A&M University and after 7 years of living in the Netherlands, he is currently traveling through Southeast Asia while learning their languages along the way.

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