Winter Trends 2020/2021



We all know this winter doesn’t look like last winter did. We know that 2020 has affected the way we live, the way we shop, the way we see our friends and family. It’s also changed the way we learn, how we plan for our futures and why users come to

So what has changed this winter compared to last winter? What are users searching for? What are they booking more of? How much are they spending? Find out in our Winter 2020 trends report.


What are people searching for? 

The lockdown between November 11 and December 2 was very different to the first lockdown in a number of ways. Mainly: it was not the sweeping change that the first lockdown was, it was not the same bed-rock shaking disruption to our lives - and this is reflected in our user statistics.


Top 5 categories: March vs. November

March November
COVID-19 Resilience training
Healthcare courses Vocational courses
Payroll training BTEC qualifications
Debt collection courses NVQ courses
Digital skills Teaching courses


This time around, instead of searching out courses on infectious diseases or how to train into the health field, people were searching for how to be more mentally resilient. Instead of trying to understand how furlough should be reflected on payroll slips, they were looking to take up an additional hobby or how to become a special educational needs assistant, or go back and take some new qualifications.

Searches for adult education, BTEC qualifications, NVQs and A-Levels increased by nearly 46% and our vocational course category saw a huge lift in Lockdown 2.


People are looking to retrain and funded courses are becoming more popular

winter 2020_21 trends (1)

Alongside the government’s retraining scheme, our users have used 2020 to explore new career avenues (either by choice or by necessity) and this is reflected in the range of courses being searched for.


Of those that took part in our 2020 Career Change survey, 33% of them said their decision to change career was prompted directly by COVID-19. Of these, 59% want to switch career because they want to try something new, 34% are seeking a better work/life balance and just 13% are doing so out of necessity.


Over 85% of all those that responded said they need to learn something new in order to swap careers and 24% were willing to spend over £1,000 to do so. 


Chart_Q10_201207 (1)

You may assume that the younger someone is the less they are willing to spend, but that is not true. Our survey showed that whilst 31% of 18-24 year olds were looking for funded courses, only 23% of 25-34 year old's were, the lowest figure in our entire dataset. Those aged 25-34 were more likely to spend between more than £1,000 on training for themselves.

This presents a marketing opportunity for training providers who can highlight how their courses can help people change careers and means that training providers can tailor their marketing strategy to different segments of learners.

Free and funded courses have increased in popularity, seeing a 15% increase YOY 2020 vs. 2019 and a 20% increase during both lockdowns.

During our Learning at Work Week Live event in October we polled our 1,000+ digital registrants, asking how much money they were willing to spend on training in the next 3-6 months. Of those who attended our live learning event, 57% were looking for government funded/partially funded courses, 14% were looking to spend between £100 and £1,000 and 5% up to £3,500. 


Top categories this winter

winter 2020_21 trends (2)

Health and social care continues to be a big category in 2020. It saw a massive uptick in the middle of March with the arrival of the first restrictions and has not seen a slow-down in interest levels. Unsurprisingly, courses around mental health, mental resilience, confidence at work and leadership have seen growth this year as well. 


March Top 10

November Top 10

Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care




Social Care / Work

Social Care / Work


Mental Health

Business & Management

Business & Management



Mental Health

Lifestyle, Fitness and Beauty


Engineering / Industry

Engineering / Industry

IT & Computer Skills




Online learning continues to dominate

People searching for online courses in 2020 has dramatically increased.

In March alone online searches jumped 105% vs. 2019 and this trend was mirrored during the second lockdown in November, where searches jumped an additional 10% during the 2 week lockdown period. 

winter 2020_21 trends (3)

The Top 5 most popular online course searches were:

  1. Vocational courses online

  2. Online health & safety courses

  3. Online management training

  4. Electrical training online

  5. Virtual DIY training

Online courses however are not a new phenomenon.

Of those who took our COVID-19 Impact Survey (which is still open) 40% of respondants said they already had a preference for online learning.

Of those who preferred to be in a classroom (27% of respondants) more than half of them (59%) said that COVID-19 had given them more opportunity to consider e-learning, and whilst 15% of them would return to classroom-only courses, 85% of them would continue to consider virtual classrooms and blended learning options in the future. 


Do you want to get more insights into learners and attract the right training buyers for your courses? Visit us and find out how we can help!

Our Services


Picture of Sophie Austin
Sophie Austin

Sophie Austin is the Site Manager for She attracts and converts target visitors and continually optimizes and expands the product to better help connect training buyers with the right information and opportunities.