language learning apps

Are language learning apps an opportunity for carrier billing?

5 July 2022

Over the past few years, we have witnessed significant growth in the e-learning market which hit a  value of approximately $197 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $840 billion by 2030 (Allied Market Research). Unsurprisingly the global pandemic had a significant impact on this market, with many schools and businesses closing to move online. As a result, the world needed to explore other options for teaching and training, leading to the adoption of e-learning apps and platforms. These apps and platforms have now become part of daily life, whether for education, in-house training or recreational learning for a range of topics, including languages.

Languages E-Learning Market

Learning languages via software is not a new concept. For many years before the development of smartphones companies like Babbel and Rosetta Stone were bringing language classes to us to use in the comfort of our own homes via our desktop PCs (Business of Apps). With the advent of smartphones, these companies have had to move with the times, which had led to language apps holding a market share of $14.2 billion in 2021 and is predicted to exceed $28.5 billion by 2028 (GlobeNewswire).

Market Drivers

A report by Meticulous Research has outlined several factors which have driven the growth in the language app market. This includes the globalisation of the economy as it has “brought people and cultures together” and as a result has fostered a need to be able to communicate across borders whether on holiday or at work. Meticulous Research continues that international business demands have also had a positive impact on the growth in this market, as many are seeking multilingual employees to fulfil roles across the globe.

GlobeNewswire supports these findings, also highlighting helping a candidate to stand out in a competitive job market as a driving factor in the adoption of language apps. In addition to this, the report also contributes growth to; increased demand for online learning, access to the internet, increased penetration of smartphones and growing travel opportunities. These market factors indicate that students are not necessarily the target market for these apps, but professionals with disposable income to spend on international travel.

Institutional vs Individual Learners

GlobeNewswire’s article further splits the market into institutional learners and individual learners. Institutional learners are those who are learning a language as part of an academic course, whereas individual learners are those who are learning themselves through apps. The article reports that the individual segment “commanded the largest part of the market” in 2020, which we can presume has continued to grow in line with the market. It is possible to link this back to previously discussed growth factors of competitive job markets, increased demand for online learning and international travel opportunities.


Language apps have adopted “flexible pricing strategies to establish and strengthen their presence in the global online language market” (Meticulous Research). There are a variety of options when starting with language apps, some give a free 7-day subscription, and others provide limited access to features with a fixed number of attempts/lessons per day. After 7 days of using the apps, or when the user wants unlimited ‘lives’, they are required to subscribe to the app.  Subscriptions can start at as little as $6.99 per month, with various package options depending on user preferences.

How is this an opportunity for carrier billing?

It’s clear that the demand for language learning apps is growing, and is anticipated to continue to do so based on the growth factors mentioned previously. Whilst free versions of these apps are available, they do have limitations, including restricted access to content – whether that be a trial period or having certain features available for subscribers only. Some of these apps may also allow new users to try their premium features for a month, with billing starting at the end of that period, allowing them to see the value of subscribing. This is where the opportunity arises for carrier billing. Carrier billing makes subscribing easy, offering a safe, secure payment method with no need to enter card details. If you would like to find out more contact the SLA Digital Team today.

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