Pearson, the world’s learning company, is today providing an update on trading in the first nine months of 2020.
Improving trend in Q3 with a strong performance in Global Online Learning; North American Courseware and Global Assessment in line with expectations; and International further impacted by COVID-19
- At the nine months, Group sales declined by 14% largely reflecting the continuing impact of COVID-19 and test centre and school closures in Global Assessment and International, and expected declines in North American Courseware.
- Global Online Learning sales grew 14% due to 41% enrolment growth in Virtual Schools for the academic year 2020/2021 and strong sales growth in Online Program Management (OPM) driven by undergraduate and international performance, partially offset by discontinued programs.
- Global Assessment sales declined 19% due to the impact of test centre closures in Professional Certification (Pearson VUE), cancellation of spring testing in US Student Assessment and school closures impacting Clinical Assessment.
- North American Courseware declined 14% with a stronger adoption performance in the Fall in US Higher Education Courseware and good growth in digital and subscription take up leading to the faster decline of higher priced package and print sales.
- International declined 24% due to the impact of COVID-19 and as the associated economic effects intensified in several key markets, predominantly affecting public and private spending on courseware and assessments.
- Pearson retains a strong balance sheet and significant financial headroom.
Execution of strategy on track with technology and platform development progressing well
- 41% increase in Virtual School enrolments for the academic year 2020/2021.
- OPM course enrolments increased 17% excluding discontinued programs and declined 10% including discontinued programs, with increased efficiencies in the student recruitment process and student acquisition costs following the operational changes made earlier this year.
- Launch of Pearson Pathways, a digital marketplace that provides learners with tailored recommendations for courses and credentials to help them achieve the skills they need for the job they require.
- Digital roadmap is on track with the launch of additional Revel titles and c.250 new eText titles on the Pearson Learning Platform.
- Accelerated shift to digital in US Higher Education Courseware with digital registrations including eBooks up by 9% showing signs of secondary market recapture, and print and bundle units sold into US Higher Education colleges down by 32%.
- After nine months Pearson is on track to deliver an outturn broadly in line with market expectations1. However, because of the pandemic, larger than usual uncertainties surround the fourth quarter, particularly in International.
John Fallon, Chief Executive said:
"Our digital performance is very strong, as we support customers and learners around the world as they shift to fully online and hybrid learning. This has been a challenging transformation for all of us but we are starting to see the benefit of all our work to ensure Pearson becomes the winner in digital learning. We are focusing on what learners care most about - a fantastic user experience, enabling better learning outcomes and offering great value. Pearson is a special company, doing something that really matters to the wider world, and I wish it every future success."