With this summer on hold, online educational platform Preply.com has recently seen a huge spike in Google searches for ‘summer 2021’, along with people looking to learn new languages while keeping their travel bugs in check. Some have taken the lockdown as an opportunity to pick up a language in anticipation of new destinations. Many have now turned to ‘pre-travelling’, kicking off summer 2021 with their ‘language bucket lists’.
Our social lives are restricted to our homes and many of our other responsibilities outside of the home are temporarily on hold. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) people say their personal travel plans and holidays are affected by the lockdown, and although staying at home puts a physical stop to traveling, the end is not completely here.
Preply, which connects learners with native or professional language tutors of their choice for remote lessons, have recently witnessed record traffic levels and new registrants from both teachers and language learners since the lockdown began. Growth nearly tripled in Italy since the lockdown there, and has doubled in other countries between mid-February and mid-April. Site traffic has surged globally by 50% and the company has witnessed a record number of daily hours booked on the platform.
In addition, the number of UK tutors registering on Preply.com has rocketed, as people use lockdown time to not only learn a new language, but to teach, too. Globally, the platform has seen the number of tutors up 80%.
The increase in learning isn’t just confined to Preply either. In the UK, more than 65,490 people have collectively searched Google for “learn Spanish”, “learn Spanish online” and “learn Spanish at home” since the UK government advised against all non-essential travel on 16 March – a 236% increase in search volume compared to the month of February, and a 312% increase year-on-year.
Languages UK residents are learning in lockdown (by search volume) include:
Spanish – 65,490 searches (236% increase since February)
French – 27,990 searches (177% increase since February)
Italian – 15,790 searches (42% increase since February)
English – 13,590 searches (14% increase since February)
Japanese – 11,530 searches (71% increase since February)
German – 10,070 searches (18% increase since February)
Pre-lockdown, January to February month-on-month search volumes showed a decrease in volume ranging from as low as -1.5% to as high as -31%. However, since the lockdown, four of the top six languages people want to learn have seen at least a 40% increase in search traffic compared to pre-lockdown traffic figures in February.
Whether it’s a way to keep busy or finally having the time to learn a new skill, the data shows that in the UK, the desire for language learning is going strong. Hopefully when the lockdown is lifted, our ‘pre-travel’ prep sees us taking full advantage of summer 2021, whilst taking back summer 2020.