European eLearning Market to Grow to $4 Billion by 2004, IDC Says

LONDON – JANUARY 4, 2001 – The European training market is witnessing a trend toward the delivery of training via the Internet. Accelerated by the need to provide a broad range of training to a geographically dispersed workforce at a lower cost, Europe is witnessing huge growth in this sector of the training market.


IDC estimates the European elearning market will grow to $4 billion by 2004, representing a compound annual growth rate of 96%. By the end of the forecast period, over 50% of the total will be derived from IT-related training. The remainder will be made up of soft skills training, such as sales, marketing, and leadership skills.

According to IDC, content is the largest component of the elearning market. "Although the delivery solutions or infrastructure tools segment of the market is an important one, I believe it will become increasingly commoditized over the next few years with a few dominant players emerging," said Sheila McGovern, senior research analyst at IDC. "The market is not only highly fragmented but also volatile with a variety of players both old and new vying for a dominant position. The traditional players are likely to have a strong role in the future consolidation of the market," McGovern added. The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden are the strongest markets in the adoption of elearning because Internet adoption levels are already high in those countries. In addition, there is less of a language localization issue in these countries as a high proportion of the population speaks English and is used to conducting business in English.

"There are a variety of strategies that could lead to success in this market," McGovern said. "One approach is to have an integrated offering – a total elearning solution. The key is in applying the right technology to the right learning environment. The other strategy is to develop partnerships with other players that allow the vendor to provide a wide range of products/services across different content areas and countries." Quality content, combined with strong instructional design, will continue to be the hallmarks of a leader in this market similarly to the traditional training market. "However, the lack of knowledge from buyers will drive them to choose on the basis of the vendor's reputation. A solid reputation remains the main criteria for choice as it entails quality and trust that enable market leaders to be true training partners to their customers," McGovern concluded.

Corporate eLearning Market Forecast and Analysis 2000 (IDC #TT16G) analyzes the competitive landscape of the corporate elearning market and forecast its size and growth by country and type. In addition, it describes the major trends in the adoption of elearning and the successful strategies of some of the market's most prominent players. This report can be purchased from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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