Project: Market and competitor research for Online Distance Learning

Client: Welsh University

A Welsh University client required a report on the market potential of 12 proposed MSc programmes to be delivered in fully online mode. The market research took place in three ways:

  • “Transversal” market research across the world on the competitors to each course.
  • Global analysis of potential for Online Masters programmes delivered in English, using UK sources (OBHE, British, BIS, HESA, UUK etc) and non-UK information from the main competitors to UK.
  • Country-specific studies on countries identified as of high potential.

Conclusions are confidential but are along the following general lines:

  1. A list of 12 most promising target countries was constructed and analysed.
  2. A reserve list of 12 countries was prepared, for possible future study.
  3. Three priority target courses were identified. Several other courses were found where it was likely that there would be a market if a suitable syllabus, pedagogy and brand could be established.
  4. Significant competition to these programmes comes from a range of UK and non-UK universities listed.
  5. A competitor analysis of the overall ODL “strength” of each of the main UK HE providers was supplied.
  6. An extension of the transversal analysis also yielded the main countries of interest to competitors of the UK for online learning delivery.
  7. A specific balance of sole provision and partnering was proposed.
  8. The leading co-providers with UK footprint were analysed for relevance to partnering.
  9. In each country, cultural as well as price and technical barriers to entry were analysed, as were indigenous providers of online learning and possible niches (UK expats, regional expats, etc).

Benefit: Identifying realistic and targeted potential for new income generation.


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