Survey: Learning Systems Market Growing, But Less Than Last Year

Is your company thinking about investing in a learning management system? If that’s the case, then this new survey is for you.

Bersin & Associates, the California-based provider of research-based membership programs in talent, learning and HR, is releasing new research today that estimates that global spending on Learning Management Systems (LMS) will grow by 10.4 percent to more than $1.8 billion in 2012-2013 – down from the growth rate of 14.7 percent in 2011-2012.

The Bersin research — summarized in a report titled Learning Management Systems: Finding Your Way Through the Maze — also found that despite on-going consolidation in the market, customers are finding it an increasingly complex and difficult market to navigate. But if you have been researching LMS options for your organization, you probably have a pretty good sense of that already.

“The LMS market continues to be one of the most complex and dynamic in the industry and, with over 500 providers, buyers need help more than ever before,” said Josh Bersin, chief executive officer and president, Bersin & Associates, who will be making a presentation on learning systems on Tuesday (Oct. 9) at the annual HR Technology Conference in Chicago.

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A market with no clear leaders

Here are some of the other findings from Learning Management Systems:

  • Slower market growth and the commoditization of LMS features make this a buyer’s market. From Bersin’s analysis: “Much of the overall growth of the 2012 global LMS market is coming from outside of North America and in small and midsize companies. Between 2012 and 2013, the study predicts relative growth will slow to 10.4 percent from a relative growth rate of 14.7 percent in 2011-2012. Slow growth of the global economy, saturation of the market for large and global enterprises, a proliferation of providers with easy-to implement SaaS-based systems and flexible pricing models will contribute to a slowing of growth. These factors, along with the commoditization of LMS features, will give buyers an edge in this market.”
  • This is a global market with no clear leaders. From Bersin’s analysis: “With more than 500 providers worldwide, none of whom has greater than 9 percent market share, emerging providers may have similar or greater capabilities than market leaders. A buyer no longer needs to stick with a major global provider. A buyer may find the right solution in their own backyard.”
  • New social capabilities are reinventing the learning management market. From Bersin’s analysis: “Nearly half of large organizations are purchasing social platforms at the departmental level to learn about them and to test their effectiveness. These social capabilities are not yet integrated into mainstream platforms. Organizations that understand the most effective social applications for their strategy will be best equipped to evaluate next-generation providers as they integrate these capabilities.”

I’m certainly not an expert in learning systems, but Josh Bersin and his team are, and if you are considering getting one of these systems, you would probably benefit from investing in Bersin’s Learning Management Systems research and analysis.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


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