IDC Forecasts The U.S. Corporate Business Skills Trainning Market Will Exceed $16.8 Billion In 2004

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 15, 2000 — As U.S. corporations pay for their employees to broaden their skills set, training vendors have a lucrative opportunity to increase their revenues. IDC estimates the U.S. corporate business skills training market will more than double from $7.6 billion in 1999 to almost $16.9 billion by 2004. "The corporate business skills training market is poised for stunning growth," said Cushing Anderson, program manager with IDC's Learning Services research program. "The effects of a tight labor market, robust economy, and dramatic improvements in technology, specifically technology-delivered training, are combining to produce tremendous market opportunity for business skills training providers."

In particular, IDC believes the financial services, manufacturing, professional services, retail/wholesale distribution, and the transportation/communications/utilities industries are attractive targets for business skills training. "These industries are facing turbulent market forces, which will increase their need for business skills training," Anderson said.

To take advantage of opportunities created by the need for business skills training, however, training vendors will need to make their content available via elearning. According to IDC, elearning will account for almost half of the U.S. business skills training market by 2004. As a result of the elearning surge, the growth of CD-ROM, videotape, and satellite training will slow considerably, and elearning will account for a dominating 80% of technology-based training in 2004.

"With the acceleration of wireless Web connectivity, especially with non- PC devices, the successful adaptation of content for effective use on those devices will establish elearning as the most significant delivery medium of the next decade," Anderson said. "Content vendors will have to respond to the opportunity in elearning or risk being relegated to also-ran status in this accelerating market."

Nevertheless, IDC warns adoption of advanced delivery technologies, including elearning, varies widely by industry. The retail/wholesale sector is the most embracing of advanced delivery technologies while the financial services sector is the most hesitant sector to adopt technology-based training. The professional services industry, meanwhile, dedicates the largest portion of its technology-based training to elearning, while transportation/communications/utilities dedicates the least.

"Because of all the variance, no single method of training delivery is sufficient," Anderson said. "The three characteristics that set vendors apart from their competitors and enable them to gain market share are quality of content, breadth of services, and mix of delivery choices."

IDC recently published two reports analyzing business skills training. Vertical Industry Buying Patterns for Business Skills Training (IDC #B21773) looks at demand for business skills training in the financial services, manufacturing, professional services, retail/wholesale distribution, and the transportation/communications/utilities industries. It looks at the share of training budgets invested in business skills, the percentage of the training budget spent externally, the amount of training days per employee per industry, and the person at organizations responsible for training purchase decisions.

The U.S. Corporate Business Skills Market Preview, 1998-2004 (IDC #B21754) looks at the market size and growth potential in the U.S. corporate business skills market. A forecast for U.S. corporate business skills training is provided through 2004. The business skills forecast is broken down by technology delivery segment. The report also discusses elearning's effects on business skills training vendors' sales strategies.

To order these reports, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, ext. 4389 or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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