Q4 student statistics suggest 2023 was the best recovery year since the pandemic
4 March 2024

Q4 student statistics suggest 2023 was the best recovery year since the pandemic

Our latest QUIC results suggest that 2023 business reached 83% of 2019 levels, a better recovery than in any of the intervening years. However, Q4 of QUIC was the worst-performing quarter of the year, only achieving 75% of pre-pandemic levels.

Note: QUIC is our optional quarterly statistics scheme and in 2023 data was supplied by 125 English UK member centres.

Recovery in 2023 quarter by quarter (compared to 2019)

Based on the results of our QUIC 2023 cohort:

  • Q4: 75% of 2019 levels
  • Q3: 82% of 2019 levels
  • Q2: 81% of 2019 levels
  • Q1: 92% of 2019 levels

These findings, compiled by BONARD from data supplied by 125 member centres, are our most accurate recovery figures until our annual student statistics report, based on figures from the full membership, is published in May. 

Suggested slowdown in student mobility globally

Speaking at a webinar exclusively for our QUIC participants, Ivana Bartosik of BONARD said some of this was likely to be caused by changing political attitudes towards students in host destinations, for example in visa policy. "Although ELT has not been directly affected by the actual changes, the whole student sentiment towards study abroad is affected. Students are considering whether they do want to go abroad for higher education, and there has been a slowdown in student mobility globally." 

Adults regained 75% of the quarter's 2019 student week volume and juniors 68%.

Return to pre-pandemic booking behaviour

The 2023 QUIC figures show a return to pre-pandemic booking behaviour, including most group bookings and junior student weeks happening in the summer.  

Comparing Q4 2023 with the same period in 2022, the highest growth came in junior student weeks which rose by over a quarter (26%). Adult weeks rose by 17%.  

Ivana Bartosik said it was "very consistent" with pre-pandemic years. "If there was the same volume, it would look very similar to 2019 with the caveat of a couple of source markets switching in importance which is a natural development in the ELT sector."  

Top source countries in Q4 2023 - Saudi Arabia and Turkey

The top source country in Q4 was Saudi Arabia, a position it also held in Q1 and Q2. Turkey, in second place, had the highest absolute year-on-year increase compared to Q4 of 2022. Kuwait, in fourth place, had a 46% growth in student weeks from Q4 2022. Colombia had the second-highest annual growth in absolute numbers, adding 149% more student weeks. 

Leading junior source countries in Q4 2023 - Germany and Italy

The top five leading junior source markets in Q4 2023 were Germany, Italy, Thailand, Spain, and Chile, representing 58% of those student weeks.  

Q4 2023 at a glance

  • 110,000 student weeks: 95% adult and 5% junior
  • Junior student weeks were up 26% compared to Q4 2022
  • Adult weeks were up 17% compared to Q4 2022
  • The recovery trajectory slowed down a little compared to previous quarters
  • Adults recovered to 75% of 2019 volume (in student weeks)
  • Juniors recovered to 68% of 2019 volume (in student weeks)
  • One in four student weeks were direct bookings
  • Top 5 adult source markets: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Switzerland, Kuwait, and Brazil
  • Top 5 junior source markets: Germany, Italy, Thailand, Spain and Chile
  • The trend towards individual bookings in successive Q4s continued: 89% of bookings were for individuals and 11% were for groups
  • 101 out of 220 advertised teaching premises operated (same number as in Q4 2022).

(n = 125 members)

Download the Q4 2023 executive summary >>

The executive summary includes some cumulative whole-year data from the 2023 QUIC cohort. 

The full, detailed QUIC report and other outputs are only available to QUIC participants.

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