Coming off a rebound year in 2013, particularly in the K-12 school market, educational publishers and providers of instructional materials are expected to see respectable growth throughout 2014 in the K-12 segment and more stability in the higher education segment with the total industry reaching $14.5 billion in 2014, up 9% from 2013.
Using projections and segment sizing from Simba Information and K-12 Educator choice percentages from the May-June 2013 survey of teachers conducted by Simba and MCH Strategic Data, here are a few specific trends to watch for in 2014:1. The K-12 segment is projected to grow 6.6% to $7.54 billion in 2014. In the K-12 segment, growth will be primarily driven through improved state funding for schools, demand for new materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards to prepare for the implementation of Common Core assessments in 2015, a sharp increase in the implementation of technology—particularly mobile technology—and pent-up demand for new instructional materials.
2. Textbooks won't reveal their expiration date quite yet. Sales of textbooks are expected to show double-digit growth in 2014, up 11%. Driving that growth is increased state funding for schools that should spill over into the purchasing of instructional materials. Textbooks, in print or interactive and digital replicates, remain in demand, although digital versions are encroaching rapidly. For instance, fully one-fourth of teachers anticipate using core English language arts programs in online/computer-based formats over the next two years, compared to 18% who do so currently. In addition, instructional courseware, the second-largest category of instructional materials, is expected to grow 8.8% to $1.38 billion in 2014. Longer term, courseware will reflect the most growth with a projected 7.9% compound annual growth rate through 2016.
3. As in recent years, Common Core standards will provide the impetus for K-12 growth in instructional materials in 2014. States have been phasing in the standards since 2010, and about 42% of teachers say the core language arts or math programs put in place since then align with Common Core standards. About 27% expect to implement new aligned core programs in language arts and math in the 2013-2014 school year with less than 5% pushing off new materials until 2014-2015.
With the implementation of Common Core standards, adoptions of instructional materials in three key states also will drive growth in 2014.
- Florida schools will be adopting Common Core-aligned materials to augment or replace current language arts and math programs for grades 6-12. If spending in 2013 is a guide, schools will look for fill-in materials rather than implementing totally new programs.
- Texas (which is not a Common Core state) allocated $419 million in 2014 for schools to spend on new programs in K-12 science, K-8 math and technical applications, as well as for older programs and technology.
- California schools will benefit from a one-time appropriation of $1.25 billion, or $200 per student, to help with Common Core implementation, including for instructional materials. The focus in 2014 will be on getting new K-8 materials into schools for fall 2014 classes.
4. In the college market, students are embracing textbook rental programs, which account for about 15% to 20% of the overall market and are contributing to the staying power of print textbooks. But, department-wide or campus-wide licensing of digital materials also is growing fast, with success coming more often when the faculty integrated the digital material into the classroom learning process and when the digital material is interactive. Sales of digital materials currently account for about 15% to 20% of traditional college publishers’ annual revenue. The appeal of adaptive homework assistance tools is driving the uptake of multimedia materials in the higher education market. Multimedia materials are projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 43% between 2011 and 2015. The category is expected to grow 40% to $1.97 billion in 2014.
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Senior Analyst / Managing Editor, Education Group