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How Educational Institutions Use Market Research to Foster Growth

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According to Euromonitor International’s economic and consumer trends research, there will be a rise in the number of people holding higher education degrees within emerging economies, as well as in developed countries. By 2030, it is expected that more than 50% of global household heads will obtain secondary education with annual household expenditure on education rising by US$200 billion by 2030. This indicates educational institutions can reap the rewards of rising education levels across emerging economies in the next decade.

As the education landscape becomes more and more competitive, educational institutions are looking for growth opportunities beyond their original scope and country of origin. From K12 to executive education or paper books to digital solutions, educational institutions continue to expand their reach and become international education conglomerates.

Beyond that, how can schools and universities better understand prospective students and uncover these additional growth opportunities? Market research provides the necessary tools to meet market challenges and face the global competition in enrollment, as international education conglomerates compete with local universities and schools for students.

Market research is a powerful tool identifying opportunities in different consumer segments and geographical regions. For example, market research identifies population trends shaping new demands for education products and services. Income and expenditure data helps educational organisations understand how much consumers make and are willing to spend on education market research and answers:

  • Which segments should we enter?
  • Which markets should we enter?

Market entry and competitive landscape are two of the most common ways educational institutions utilise market research.

Market Entry

Market entry analysis helps educational groups and universities define the most attractive segments, regions or cities to expand operations. Intelligence gathered through market research allows for different evaluation criteria, such as local industry profiles, economic activity, prospective student profiles, interest levels and operating environment for schools and universities.

For example, market research can identify the market potential for higher education courses across different regions and cities, determine graduate employment rates, company demands when hiring and estimate future demand for educational programs. For example, market research can help schools map territories identify expansion opportunities. Territory mapping can include information such as the identification of existing competitors in the area, which companies are located in the same region and to what extent they hire students from schools located in the same geographical perimeter. Research can also identify alternative cities and territories for investments.

Market intelligence can also help identify complementary services and offers to existing portfolios. It is not uncommon for educational groups to operate simultaneously in higher education, corporate education and K12, requiring an assessment of all opportunities available across the different segments. Under these circumstances, education conglomerates engage in market research projects to help them identify where to expand and where to retreat.

For example, an educational group with a solid presence in distance learning programs wants to evaluate the market potential for academic videos and programming. The group has gained significant experience in the production of academic programming through video classes and online workshops and wants to determine whether there is an opportunity to sell its programming to other schools.

Vertical integration is not uncommon. K12 schools may want to consider creating higher education courses or colleges and universities may want to get into the market of secondary level courses. In countries such as Brazil, where tuition fees can be an unsurmountable hurdle for a significant number of students to attend college, enrollment in professional secondary level technical courses has increased by 88% in the last six years, according to Senai (National Industrial Learning System). Colleges and universities motivated by this growing demand for professional secondary level technical courses have engaged in market research to estimate the market potential for different types of technical courses as a way to expand their activities in the education space.

Competitive landscape

Evaluating the competition is crucial when implementing a market entry strategy. Identifying competitors´ practices relating to recruitment, marketing and retention enables education companies to best evaluate where to expand, which provides a deep understanding of how the competition acts as a barrier to entry or as unfulfilled gap with growth opportunities.

Education companies also utilize market research to assess their competitors´ profiles. Educational groups create an overall picture of their competitors, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, strategic direction and potential future moves. Learning about what educational groups are doing across the globe helps pinpoint emerging trends, best practices and pitfalls to avoid.

Market research helps your organisation be ready for the opportunities and future challenges in education. Strategic intelligence provided by market research supports education companies´ efforts to stay ahead of the competition and foster growth. To learn how Euromonitor International can assist you with your market research strategy, contact us today.

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