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Early Learning Market Charts And Their Own Growth Path Here we explore the market for early childcare Which is wide, untapped and ever expanding

By Karthik Lakshman

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If the mushrooming of preschools across India is anything to go by, the early childcare market is booming. According to Technavio, a research firm, the preschool market in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India is all set to grow at 22% by 2020; a growth rate which few sectors can boast of. However, none of this is unexpected. Increasing number of nuclear families and working mothers has led to this much expected change.

The Millennial Mum & Dad

The ambitious millennial parent is not satisfied merely with providing their young children with preschool education. They want more. They want their children to gain IQ and EQ right from their toddler days. They are also searching for an alternative to the gravest problem they deal with—technology and video-based entertainment.

Though millennials are known to pamper their children with toys, they are also aware of the ill effects of "too much' that plagues children. Added to that, the really good quality toys, which are not hazardous to children, are also extremely expensive. The new-age parents want their children to be productively engaged in activities that aid their mental and physical growth, and this is leading to extensive growth in the early childcare and learning market. They want products and services that aid brain development, since 80% of the development of a child takes place before the age of eight.

What's in the market?

The early childcare market broadly covers creches, coaching classes, and product companies that sell learning aids etc. Cities and towns offer a variety of options for parents in the form of hobby classes, playgroups for two-year-olds, phonetics classes for children aged four and dive, dance studios and along with child yoga and meditation.

Growth in the market is also coming from unexpected quarters with new-age innovations. Replacing toys and technology are theme-based DIY learning toys that come in the form of kits. The kits package surprise and curiosity, which engage and challenge children.

New-age learn-and-play modules understand the psyche of children, and scientifically devise ways and means to replace passive entertainment like TV, video and video gaming. These kits do not just enthuse and excite children only. Parents too are happy to watch them move away from the many screens that are now easily available. There is also another class, which is and will be delighted with the new emerging innovations in start-ups—the investors.

The number game

Edtech startups have opened a galaxy of opportunities for students who are no longer happy with the textbook and blackboard approach to education. Popular startups are solving the conundrum of turning instruction led education into interesting with innovative approaches. Byju's Learning App has crossed the 5.5 million downloads, apart from attracting investors like Sequoia Capital and Sofina; and is fast turning into the startup to watch out for. Subsequently, investor sentiment on edutech startups has turned positive, resulting in ripple effect across similar sectors and early childhood learning seems to be the no. 1 recipient of investors' and entrepreneurs' interest.

Juxtaposing innovation and education into early childcare can open a new vista of opportunities. The market for early childcare is wide, untapped and ever expanding. It has been estimated that there are around 17 crore children in the age bracket of zero to six, as per the last census. The size of the segment has been expanding exponentially, as it doubles every three years. More importantly, there are fewer competitors in the market as compared to the size. It means the sector would not see predatory pricing and undercutting, which is common across startups. It means more entrepreneurs can enter the market of turning our future generations smarter, more curious and inquisitive!

Karthik Lakshman

Co-founder and COO

Karthik is the Co-founder & COO Magic Crate. He has extensive experience running & managing operations in companies like Coca Cola, GE and HP. He has also spent 5 years advising C level executives on strategic direction, sales & operations during his tenure at McKinsey. Karthik holds an engineering degree from Madras University and a Masters from Georgia Institute of Technology.

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