2020 China’s Adult English Market Report

Source:iResearchSeptember 11,20203:45 PM Overview Research Object

English training to improve adults' English exam skills or application ability

The research object of this report is English training mainly for adults. Including (1) Exam-oriented English training aims to improve performance in various English exams such as CET 4 and CET 6, postgraduate entrance exams, exams for studying abroad, etc. The content of the courses focuses on exams and scoring skills; (2) Practical English training focusing on improving English listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, such as English skills needed for business communication, traveling abroad/living abroad, studying abroad/immigration, etc. The content of the courses emphasizes the practical application ability of English.

Development History of the Adult English Market

Exam-oriented English training has entered the mature stage. The practical English market remains to be developed.

China's education and training market began with English training. After the reform and opening up, there was a studying abroad wave in China. In this context, the training institutions for the exam for studying abroad came into being, and the education and training giant New Oriental began to rise. Since then, with the liberalization of self-funded studying abroad, greater reform and opening up, and China’s accession to the WTO, the globalization of the Chinese economy has accelerated. Foreign companies poured into China, resulting in huge demand for practical English training. Institutions such as EF, Web International English, Wall Street English entered China/were founded. Driven by both “studying abroad+work”, the adult English training market experienced explosive growth. After 2008, exam-oriented English and practical English training institutions were differentiated. The exam-oriented English training institutions achieved rapid growth by expanding in the K12 training field. The traditional practical English training institutions have been targeting the core adult users who have strong demand for practical English. The price is high, the product forms lack adjustment, and the expansion continues. Problems are gradually exposed. Taking the collapse of Web International English as a typical event, the traditional practical English training market clear started. However, there is always demand for vocational English training. With the further deepening of the lifelong education concept, the growth rate of the practical English training market is expected to rise, and the proportion of online training will gradually increase.


Concept: Adult English includes exam-oriented English training focusing on improving the users' performance in various English exams and practical English training focusing on English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Market Size: In 2019, the size of the adult English market was 95.3 billion yuan. The sizes of exam-oriented English, practical English and institutional English businesses were 29.3 billion yuan, 59.8 billion yuan and 6.2 billion yuan, respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has a great impact on the adult English market, and the market is expected to shrink by 37.6% in 2020.

Market opportunities: In the exam-oriented English training segment, the English training for the postgraduate English exam and overseas exam market are worthy of paying attention to.; In the practical English training segment, the business model innovation opportunities brought about by technological change should be focused on, such as using 5G, big data, AI and other technologies to better meet the diverse needs of users and reduce the costs and prices of courses; There is a new round of M&A opportunities in the exam-oriented English and practical English training markets.

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