The report on education startups also found that 89 percent Indians are willing to pay for learning apps, and are open to shelling out as much as Rs 250 a month.
The edtech sector in India has exploded in the recent past. Both consumption and investment have gone up significantly. Several apps and services are jostling for mind space. A study conducted by Gray Matters Capital (GMC), an impact investor improving access to affordable education, throws up some key trends defining the sector.
The report titled Efficacy of Mobile EdTech in India: Mapping User Engagement to Learning Outcomes reveals that BYJU'S (homegrown test preparation app) and Duolingo (global leader in app-based language learning) recorded the highest brand recall among education apps.
“This is indicative of the user focus on getting jobs or doing better in jobs with help of English, not just learning for the sake of it. On the other hand, for younger children, parents actively look for resources that will improve academic learning, especially reading ability,” the report explains.
The BYJU'S app has been downloaded over 30 million times on Google Play Store, while Duolingo has recorded more than 100 million downloads globally.
Interestingly, BYJU'S is now the world’s most-valued edtech company at $3.6 billion, a feat it achieved in 2018, after a $540 million funding round led by Naspers and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The homegrown unicorn is now looking to expand to the US, and acquire products that have a global reach.
The GMC report further reveals that Indians are now more ready to pay for education apps. As much as 89 percent of the 2,000 users surveyed were in favour of paid learning apps. Students in the age group of 18-25 preparing for competitive tests were open to paying Rs 100-250 per month for tutoring apps. Parents, on the other hand, were willing to shell out Rs 250 a month to “enhance their child’s learning through mobile-based applications”.
When it comes to the choice of apps, relevance (42.3 percent) and ease of use (26 percent) emerged as the top deciding factors for Indians. Also, about 70 percent preferred content in vernacular languages.
GMC also surveyed 42 education entrepreneurs in India and discovered that user engagement (40 percent), followed by the creation of personalised learning paths (31 percent) and monetisation (26 percent) are the top challenges they face. Customer acquisition too is a problem, especially for edtech startups without an app interface. Additionally, most users tend to shy away from downloading apps larger than 25MB.
Ragini Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital said, “We work with companies across the Education-Employability spectrum who are trying to bring improved learning outcomes and employment opportunities using both offline solutions along with digital mediums and mobile devices… If we could help them focus on just three things - improve the user engagement, help enhance monetisation and ensure optimisation of the performance, we could pave the way for more scale.”