We've upgraded our outlook for the Global OPX/OPM market, now estimated to reach $13.3B by 2025.
In 2019 HolonIQ launched the OPX category, strategically expanding the scope of the generally accepted ‘Online Program Manager’ or OPM moniker. We’ve been tracking the growth in OPM partnerships back nearly two decades and our open-source Higher Education Digital Capability framework maps the 4 dimensions, 16 domains, and 70+ capabilities that Universities and Colleges around the world use to inform their strategic ‘buy’, ‘build’ or ‘partner’ decisions. With all the challenges of capability, growth, funding, regulation and digital transformation that this decade presents, we’ve always considered the OPX model as a powerful public-private partner for governments and institutions to advance the future of higher education and service the changing needs of learners.
2020 and COVID turned out to be an inflection point for technology-led innovation in Higher Education. Institutions have responded rapidly to support their students through incredibly challenging circumstances. As such, it is not surprising that a digital-focused, public-private partnership model bringing upfront capital investment, global recruitment networks and online learning design teams at scale have been experiencing very strong demand from Presidents, Vice Chancellors and Deans at institutions around the world.
In markets that display faster changing dynamics, we revise our forecasts more frequently and thus for the shifting OPX market, this is our third revision to our 2025 estimate in as many years.
Early 2019, we estimated the global OPX market would reach $7.8B by 2025. Early 2020, we upgraded that figure to $9.9B as 2019 closed the year with 200 new academic public-private partnerships in total, OPM’s outperformed on expectations and a new wave of startups and scale-ups sought to compete for partnerships.
By the end of 2020 we had seen over 300 new academic public-private partnerships established and a broad-based digital transformation agenda in Higher Education globally. We rebased our 2020 estimates compared to prior years by including Grand Canyon and Kaplan/Purdue+ for the US market into our supply-side model. Recent public investor relations disclosures have, in our view, classified these players (or relevant divisions) into the OPX category. We’ve also identified many more new and existing international OPMs and OPXs as the category shows strong growth in Asia, Europe and Oceania. Finally, the market out-performed our forecast for 2019 and 2020 and delivered strong results and new partnerships we see generating further momentum over the forecast period.
Consequently, both our bottom-up supply-side and demand-side models were pointing well north of our previous $9.9B upgrade. After interviewing more than 50 OPMs, MOOCs, Universities, Governments and other expert stakeholders around the world over the last 3 months, we’ve landed on a ‘mid-COVID’ outlook for 2025 of $13.3B.
In terms of definitions, on the supply side the $13.3B OPX market size represents the total revenue of all OPX players. i.e. this is ‘post’ any revenue share and does not represent total tuition of OPX backed programs.
While the US market pioneered and led the growth of the OPM and OPXs models, international markets are now rapidly expanding. With a mix of US companies expanding offshore, local leaders dominating the local landscape and regional champions connecting disparate ecosystems, the international OPX market will nearly quadruple from $1B in 2020 to $3.7B in 2025. Australia, Africa, China, Europe, India, LATAM, the Middle East and Southeast Asia all have thriving OPX platforms, many supporting governments, multi-lateral institutions, Universities and Colleges on simultaneous ‘recovery’ and ‘leap-frog’ strategies.