Know your international audience: The only market set for growth in he between now and 2022

Know your international audience: the only market set for growth in he between now and 2022

As the only market set for growth between now and 2022, international students are central to the sustainability of Higher Education. This year, the total number of foreign applications to British universities surpassed 100,000 for the first time ever and UCAS reported an 11% growth from 2017 in non-EU applications.

This rise in applications has put the UK just behind the US in the top two countries for recruiting international students, highlighting the clear opportunity for British universities to benefit from the ever-growing global demand for high-quality education.


China and India remain the top growing international markets with a 20% increase from Chinese applicants and 36% increase from Indian students. Other leading markets include the United States, Nigeria, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

The Student Room receives an average of 4.5 million international users every month and has seen a significant growth over the last year. We captured our on-site data to see how our audience compares to other global growing markets. Take a look to see where our top international users are based:

  1. United States – 1,966,000 users
  2. India – 318,900 users
  3. Canada – 268,130 users
  4. Australia – 238,200 users
  5. Singapore – 77,900 users
  6. Philippines – 72,400 users
  7. Malaysia – 69,500 users
  8. Pakistan – 55,000 users
  9. South Africa – 54, 800 users
  10. United Arab Emirates – 50,300 users


International students make a major contribution to the UK economy. According to QS UK International Student Survey 2018, on and off-campus spending by overseas students and their visitors generate almost £26 billion to UK economy and universities UK estimated international students support over 200,000 jobs. Uniquely, the distribution of universities around the UK means that these benefits impact all regions and constituencies.


Although final Brexit negotiations remain undefined, QS UK’s recent International Student Survey reported a huge 63% of respondents who agreed Brexit made no difference in terms of their decision-making to study in the UK.

It’s important to consider most Brexit apprehensions are widely held by students within the EU as direct ramifications from negations are more likely to impact them. This led to an understandable higher level of doubt amongst EU students with 39% anticipating they are less likely to study in the UK as a result of Brexit.

QS UK’s recent International Student Survey also demonstrates Brexit has contributed to the recent rising interest from non-EU students. Students from Indonesia, Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia, along with those from China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Nigeria are all significantly more likely to be interested in studying in the UK as a result of Brexit. We can assume this is largely due to the value of the pound dropping making UK education more affordable, but also demonstrates how the majority of this audience stays relatively neutral to policy change, which paves the way as we get closer to the March 2019 deadline.


The benefits of international students don’t stop at monetary factors. They’re vital in nurturing future generations and creating a diverse environment for students. The intake of overseas students creates cultural competence, improved communication and encourages exposure to global differences enhancing the overall student experience.

The Student Room aims to mirror a similar environment on-site, home to 4.5 million international users every month, it’s the perfect platform to understand this diverse segment through market research and connect with a global market in one sole destination.

Want to find out more about the behavior and interests of this growing market? Explore which subjects overseas students are most interested in.