Education Second Wave?

Education Second Wave?

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Throughout the pandemic period our market intelligence team often talked about rapid technology deployment within the education markets as schools and universities shifted to support of fully remote learning. This was visible in the revenue numbers coming out during that time showing overall spending on AV equipment declining in 2020 by almost 10% due to a shift away from classroom tech and then a larger rebound in 2021 as institutions invested heavily in change.  The high percent growth has since waned, and current forecasts show it on a continual path of decline through 2027. The story here is one of a settling into a 'new-normal' mode such that, while spending increases each year overall, it isn't in the form of overall peak waves of investment like we saw in 2021. The question is, will things actually play out that way? 

Here's a counter theory. The early response to the disruption caused by a wholesale emphasis on hybrid or mixed-mode learning could possibly be characterized as a grab-and-go process. Within this concept, institutions largely responded to immediate needs with quick purchases, not yet being able to see the long-term trajectory or develop a corresponding plan based on organizational goals. Now that things have settled a bit more and vision has sharpened, it is possible another more organized wave of investment in technology is coming as companies go through an upgrade cycle. The current forecasts suggest this will play out gradually over the next five years, but it could instead come in a larger peaking of growth. Depending on the wave size, this could also mean a net total growth over the coming years that is greater than the 4.3% CAGR forecasted for the education market. For context, overall industry revenues are predicted to grow at nearly 6%, meaning growth waves are higher for other markets.  

What do you think? As those either working within or for places of learning, do you think that growth really will taper from here, possibly even declining, or do you think that another investment wave is coming? Weigh in via the comments below or email me at 

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Go to the profile of David Keene
over 1 year ago

Good points Sean. Note, I do not work in Higher Ed per se, so I look forward to seeing the comments here of those who do. I’m a market analyst, researcher, journalist, and as such I’d predict that the answers to the questions posed here would be wrapped in some way around the following demographics and the changing nature of student bodies on today’s campuses. Consider:

  • While the number of undergraduate students in the U.S. dropped by nearly 10% during the pandemic, formerly underrepresented minority applicants increased some 32%, and first-generation applications jumped 43% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Hispanic enrollment at four-year institutions is up 287% between 2000 and 2020
  • Women are now outnumbering men in higher education.

Will a changing body of students necessitate a reinvestment in technology tools, in individual campuses, and, more broadly, following the patterns of those demographic changes nationwide?