Market considerations for LATAM & Caribbean

Trends and indicators
A solid regional sales strategy often starts with the selection of focus markets. Occasionally, organisations sub-divide territories in different tiers depending on the level of sales pro-activity and investment they are budgeting. More frequently, organisations hand-pick the countries they are going to look after pro-actively in a given territory and deploy a much more reactive approach towards opportunities outside the core geographical locations.
Market prioritization is therefore key to both middle and long-term success. Poorly selected country priorities for a given region will not only result in quotas and growth expectations not being met, but also important legal, operations, marketing and product resources wasted. Market analysis for education technology initiatives is not that different from other industries. However, education technology initiatives can follow B2B or B2C models, and also target very different institutional groups, government, schools, universities, business schools, corporations, vocational schools, etc. The specific edtech niche bias and go-to-market approach will influence the weight and importance of diverse quantitative and qualitative indicators.

TRADITIONAL QUANTITATIVE INDICATORS

2016-09-01_16-18-06

Aggregated regional GDP Growth. World Bank Data.

  • Population growth

  • GDP

  • Student enrolment projections

  • Enrolment in public vs private institutions

  • Per-student investment in technology

  • Internet penetration

  • Smartphone penetration

At the macro level, Latin America is a very interesting region for northern american based projects. It has more than 600M population and $5.1tn GDP, in a region that speaks only two main languages and that continues to grow. Internet and smartphone penetration continue to grow and education is seen in most instances as a way up to the next social layer. However, there is also currency fluctuation and political challenges to be weighted. In fact, Brazil´s turmoil is pulling down growth expectations for the region in the next 2-3 years.

At EDT we deem critical additional indicators while analysing the size and readiness of a given territory.

EDT´S SUGGESTED QUANTITATIVE INDICATORS

Enrolment in private schools (%). World Bank Data.

Enrolment in private schools (%). World Bank Data.

  • Inequality levels

  • Currency fluctuations

  • Cost of education vs cost of living

  • Public vs private school/university ratio

  • Fitch and S&P ratings on country debt

It is also extremely important to analyse other qualitative regional components like political stability and outlook, education system policies and regulations, overall regional innovation focus and commercial regulations, taxes and aids for international companies to operate within the region.
Large country wide projects are also important signs and motivators for regional expansion. Several governments are funding 1:1 initiatives also known as one student, one device (laptop or tablet). A good example of this sort of country wide initiative that has drawn important international attention and investment, is Plan Ceibal in Uruguay.
 
 
Colombia, Chile and Bolivia while smaller compared to other countries in region, remain very attractive for edtech initiatives both in government and private sectors. With growth ratio expectations in between 15%-20% for the next 4 years. Mexico and Argentina will be expected to grow at lower ratios but will still remain very appealing for foreign providers.