The Explosion in Sales: Blip or Trend?

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LawrenceMMiller
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The Explosion in Sales: Blip or Trend?

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Many, if not most of us, are seeing a very significant explosion/increase in enrollments this month. If the data for the first 13 days represents half of this month's sales, the total for this month will be far higher than any previous month and close to 3X April last year. Now, we all recognize that the Covid-19 shut down is working in our favor. We are among the very fortunate few who are actually benefiting from this crisis. 

 

The question is, does this represent a statistical blip on the graph, or does this represent a lasting trend. In other words, six months from now will we be seeing a continuation of this performance, or a regression to the mean?

 

Scenario 1: Business is changed forever. This is a permanent change in how people learn. In my area of management training corporations are not going to want to bring their people together in groups at some corporate training event for a very long time and will continue to assign them to online courses, now having recognized the efficiency of these courses. Less corporate travel, more comfort with online learning and conferencing. Things have changed forever!

 

Scenario 2: In six months (for example) when everyone goes back to work, this will be remembered as a bad dream that you can tell your kids about. Companies will want to get their people together in groups to share experiences, listen to their corporate trainers in all their brilliance, and our online sales will return to the long term trend line that is being violated by the current data. Things haven't really changed.

 

Which is it? 

 

Lawrence M. Miller
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FrankKane
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Or, scenario 3: the economic impact of the pandemic turns out to be persistent, and companies scale back their training budgets and headcount in response. This ends up disproprotionately hitting UFB, causing Udemy to pivot back to the marketplace and personal development courses (which actually seems to be where the sudden revenue growth is coming from)

 

My own prediction is that it ends up as a wash; this "new normal" has introduced a lot of people to online learning who never would have considered it before, and that will have a lasting positive effect. But long-term economic decline will hit corporate training and the number of people willing to spend even $10 on a course. Those two forces might just cancel each other out.

But, if UFB positions itself as a lower-cost alternative to other employee development programs, perhaps it could do a ju-jitsu move to actually benefit from this as well.

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I do believe that things have changed forever - but we may have a mix of people and businesses doing more online training even after this pandemic has run its course. I believe people are truly thinking "outside of the box" of past learning opportunities and noticing that it is possible and perhaps even more cost effective and efficient.

I look forward to positive movement forward!

Hanifa

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Anonymous
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This month doesn't look any different than any other month for me. It's about average - maybe just slightly above average.

LawrenceMMiller
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I am thinking about the difference. My courses may be more focused on personal improvement, how to be a better team leader, etc. Maybe people are thinking "if I lose my job..." what will help get the next job. I haven't added any courses in the past year or changed anything of any significance, so I am not sure why the  difference.

Lawrence M. Miller
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Anonymous
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Where is your growth? Is it coming from Ads, Oganic, etc? Maybe a course or two is being more heavily promoted? Could also be a change in pricing of one of your competitors? Mabe they have set their prices higher for a competing course or two, making them more expensive than yours when there are no sales?

Just spitballing...

LawrenceMMiller
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So, this graph is more information than you want, but it is pretty much across the board. If you look at last month I had a huge increase in my Leading Virtual Teams course, which is understandable (that is the third from the bottom puke green bar). But, it was all up and this month, if you double the bar on the right, which is just through April 13th, you can see how it will compare to other months unless sales just die. 

 

I have heard from other instructors who are also seeing a big increase so it isn't just me. Not sure how it works for other instructors.

 

Enrollments 3years.JPG

Lawrence M. Miller
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Anonymous
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Oddly enough, my sales for yesterday were triple the norm. Surely, one day does not a trend make...but it was funny to see after our conversation. 

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Interesting to speculate! I think a lot of us will be wondering the same.

Yes, 3X normal sales here in the modern language department too.  No doubt that we're holding the aces, along with online delivery... errr... marriage counseling, Netflix..  

As for scenarios farther down the line, my powers of divination are not up to the task, though it can't hurt that a lot more people will have been exposed to eLearning.

Following...

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Please note this growth is particularly true for non-tech courses 🙂

Anonymous
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I wonder is Udemy is just pushing these courses harder in paid ads becasue people are stuck indoors.

LawrenceMMiller
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@StephaneMaarek "Please note this growth is particularly true for non-tech courses" 

 

I wonder why that is true. It is normally the other way around. 

Lawrence M. Miller
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@LawrenceMMiller I think people are more worried about keeping themselves happy for the next few months (cook well, play guitar, sing, start pottery and meditation) than learning a tech skill. The job market is shrinking and right now people don't have jobs not because of qualification issues, but because of the economy. That's my take

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Yes, that's what I thought

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I should be an anomaly then . I have courses in Engineering (not computer , but in mechanical, automotive )  and my current April is 5x  APril 2019 already . 

 

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Yes. I also see improved enrollments as compared to the past months. I can say that this month is going to be the best of all the months ever since I have joined Udemy.  I see a lot of people saying that due to this lockdown, they were first spending time watching online shows and movies. Now, they think that the lockdown period is getting extended over and over again, they feel like using this time to learn some skills. 

 

I think, once everything gets norma, we will see normal enrollments. 


Engineer, Engineering Academy-Nepal

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Hi Lawrence,

I'm also enjoying an explosion of sales and BFB enrollments. As for whether it will last beyond the coronavirus, who knows? I'm going to hope for scenario 1, but expect scenario 2. So if it continues, great! And if not, I can look back at this otherwise stressful time as having a Udemy-shaped silver lining. Whatever happens, I'm happy. 

Stay safe!

Mark

 

FrankKane
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Or, scenario 3: the economic impact of the pandemic turns out to be persistent, and companies scale back their training budgets and headcount in response. This ends up disproprotionately hitting UFB, causing Udemy to pivot back to the marketplace and personal development courses (which actually seems to be where the sudden revenue growth is coming from)

 

My own prediction is that it ends up as a wash; this "new normal" has introduced a lot of people to online learning who never would have considered it before, and that will have a lasting positive effect. But long-term economic decline will hit corporate training and the number of people willing to spend even $10 on a course. Those two forces might just cancel each other out.

But, if UFB positions itself as a lower-cost alternative to other employee development programs, perhaps it could do a ju-jitsu move to actually benefit from this as well.

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"ju-jitsu move" 😆

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Yes, that's the problem with UFB's fixed price contracts. During "down" times, the first thing every Corporate scales back on, is Corporate training. 

Organic sales need a little more focus for sustainable revenue.

The current sales growth we see may not be sustainsble otherwise.

DiogoAlvesd487
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I have a different opinion than you @SivakamiS2017 , fixed contracts are a way to protect yourself in down times, because you have piece of paper that states you will get your money at the end of the month. Overall, fixed contract are low risk and thus low reward. 

 

For Udemy, UFB and marketplace complement each other great, because one brings steady revenue with a contract, which means low marketing spending and thus high profitabily. This results that you improve your cash flow situation to invest in adds for the marketplace, especially in the acquisition for new customers, which is fundamental for sustainable growth.

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Not really. When I was in the Corporate world, in multiple organizations, we had a tie up with Coursera. 

When business was slow, that was the first thing they terminated, or stoppef renewal for. It depends on the contract terms.

And we would not always renew them when things picked up. It depended on the priorities at that time.

It' s the same with several organizations, that my friends and college mates work for. That's the first thing to go. Training and Development.

Pay for time viewed can be  argued or bargained for, saying let's reduce views etc but the contract is likely to continue.

DiogoAlvesd487
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Agree that training budget goes first, but Udemy has 1 year contract with companies, so the decline is not massive in a given month, and the impact is spread out. The same cannot be said for one-time purchases that people can cancel or postpone.

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