FDSV survey shows German agency trends

09 April, 2015

The annual survey of German agencies by association FDSV shows 2014 outbound trends in the language sector, with English continuing to dominate business amid a slight drop in average student weeks.

German agency association FDSV conducts an annual survey of German agencies on outbound language study trends

Among the 26 German agencies that completed the survey, conducted by FDSV in collaboration with the University of Heilbronn, English accounted for 83.64 of total language course bookings, a slight decrease compared with 85.63 per cent in 2013. The dominance was more pronounced at junior level where 90.64 of clients chose English programmes, although this was a three per cent drop compared with the previous year.

Spanish was the second most requested language overall with 5.81 per cent market share, followed by French (5.26) and Italian (1.60), all three remaining stable. The ‘other language’ category – which includes Japanese, Arabic and Turkish – increased share from 1.20 per cent in 2013 to 3.19 per cent.

In terms of destinations, the UK continued to be the most popular country for German students, particularly within the junior market, and increased overall market share slightly to 53.50 per cent. Malta remained the second on 14.65 per cent, followed by USA (5.40), France (5.06) and Spain (4.18). The latter country appeared to slightly lose market share to Latin America, which increased to 1.70 per cent market share overall and five per cent share within the adult segment.

The trend first identified in 2013 of German junior students studying foreign language programmes in German-speaking countries receded slightly last year, dropping from 9.56 per cent share of the junior market to 8.90 per cent.

The total number of student weeks recorded by FDSV in the survey was 92,645, a drop compared with the 110,442 weeks in 2013’s survey. Julia Richter at FDSV told StudyTravel Magazine this was attributable to the slightly lower response rate to the survey – 28 agencies responded in 2013 – and the marginal reduction in average stay, down from 2.2 weeks to 2.1 weeks in 2014.   

While the average lengths of stay declined for the UK (from 2.01 weeks to 1.89) and the USA (from 4.8 to 3.7), there were longer average stays for students heading to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France and Spain. 

The 14-to-17 age group remained the largest client cohort for German agents, but market share reduced from 53.22 in 2013 to 41.63 in 2014, while the second-largest 18-to-30 demographic increased from 16,65 per cent market share to 22,58 per cent. There was increased market share for the youngest (six-to-13) and oldest (50+) cohorts, standing at 17.28 per cent and 6.05 per cent respectively in 2014.

Among the programme types offered by agents surveyed, there was an increase in exam preparation, with 76.92 per cent of members now promoting such courses. Language plus sports/culture programmes grew from 85 per cent in 2013 to 96.15 per cent last year, while 50+ courses also rose substantially.

Forecasting trends for the coming year, FDSV said in the report that there is increasing demand for specialist language trips, including family programmes, high school preparation and 50+ courses. FDSV said it also expects a positive year in 2015 due to the steadily growing importance of language skills for professional qualifications and career planning, with parents increasingly investing in children’s language education at an earlier age.

As previously reported, FDSV again highlighted that the current depreciated value of the euro has had differing impacts on members, depending on whether they had been able to invest in currency stocks or not.

The results of FDSV’s annual report echoed many of the findings of StudyTravel Magazine’s recent survey of German agents, which showed a slight decrease in average business among participating companies and covered all study travel sectors.

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