Find out which courses and instructors were the winners and losers of Udemy’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Cyber Week came and went quickly. So quickly that perhaps you haven’t had time to full appreciate the impact on your course sales.  

Curious about how other online instructors fared with Udemy’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales? The great thing about Teachinguide’s database is that this is the kind of insights you can generate about your competitors using the data and search functions.  For now, we’ve done the analysis of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Here’s a summary.

Total Online Course Enrollments during Cyber Week

Below is a summary of total course enrollments daily, starting a week before Black Friday, November 29, through Cyber Monday December 2 and then to December 16. During this 3 week period approximately 6.64 million enrollments in Udemy courses. That’s incredible!

You can see clearly in the graph below that in the week before Black Friday enrollments hover in the 210,000 per day range. Then they ramp up starting November 27 and stay ramped up for about a week until after Cyber Monday.  Enrollments on Black Friday reached 328,164 and were slightly higher on Cyber Monday at 337.085.

The highest daily enrollment was the Saturday after Black Friday with 346,411 enrollments.  

What’s interesting to note about this data is just how long Udemy manages to stretch the sale season and associated enrollment volumes.

During Cyber Week there were about 2.29 million enrollments. But the week after, Udemy was still able to keep enrollment levels elevated garnering 1.96 million enrollments that week until level started moving closer to the more typical range of about 210,000 enrollments per day.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday Most Popular Course Categories

So what were the most popular course categories on Black Friday?  The top 10 categories with the highest enrollments during Cyber Week are in the table below.

Probably not very surprising to say that Software Development was the big winner in terms of “categories”. Courses in this category sold over 500,000 courses on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Web Development courses constituted about a third of these sales and Programming Languages about 25%. Everybody wants to learn to code!

The second biggest selling category was IT and Software category courses with about 280,000 courses sold on Black Friday and Cyber Monday each.

Interestingly one Udemy instructor told us that they felt perhaps Udemy was promoting technology courses more than any others…

Non-technical instructors don’t despair, however. Even though your course category may not be in huge demand relative to technology courses, categories such as music and health and fitness saw tremendous growth during Cyber Week.

This would imply that Udemy’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are actually more beneficial to non-technical course instructors.

Category Cyber Week Enrollments Increase over
Average Sales
Development 1.1 million 53%
IT and Software 571,000 32%
Business 380,000 59%
Design 245,000 80%
Teaching and Academics 208,000 52%
Personal Development 194,000 60%
Marketing 160,000 56%
Office Productivity 92,000 30%
Health and Fitness 72,000 87%
Music 71,000 160%

(Want to know how this compares to 2018? Check out our Black Friday article from 2018 here)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Least Popular Category

The category with the fewest enrollments during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales was Finance and Accounting which saw roughly 12,000 and 14,000 enrollments respectively. Half of these were financial modeling and analysis courses.

What we can confirm from the data is that very very few people are interested in learning about regulatory compliance on Udemy 😉

Most Popular Course Topics

The table below summarizes enrollments on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday (just these 2 days) for the top-selling topics. Python is of course at the top (snore).

Apparently there are still thousands of people who want to become online course instructors. Online Course Creation ranked number 4 in popularity.

Interesting that machine learning is in the top 10 but not data science. Our theory is that data science has become so competitive that perhaps instructors are now focusing on the wave of interest in artificial intelligence and the chronic lack of skills in that talent market.

Topic Total Black Friday and
Cyber Monday Enrollments
Python 72,111
Java 31,848
Javascript 30,575
Online Course Creation 27,365
Machine Learning 25,085
Excel 24,983
Data Analysis 22,061
Web Development 20,250
Ethical Hacking 19,156
CSS 19,049

Which Udemy Course Authors Did Well?

While it wouldn’t be fair to reveal actual enrollment numbers that individual instructors gained during Udemy’s Cyber Week, we can reveal who sold the most courses. Here are the top 5 online course creators for sales that week.

Learn Tech/Josh Werner – Learn Tech has created 82 courses on a wide variety of software packages like Adobe, Photoshop, Google Drive, Office 365, Javascript, CSS3, and many many more. It appears that most of these courses have been launched very recently because Learn Tech’s average daily sales prior to Black Friday were less than 1,000.

The fact that Learn Tech has cast such a wide net in offering such a variety of courses in the popular software and web development topics, many at the beginner or basic level, and did so in the run-up to Black Friday, is likely the reason for so many enrollments.

Jose Portilla/Pierian Data – Infamous Udemy instructor Josa Portilla unsurprisingly came second with the most enrollments for Cyber Week. His classes cover the most in-demand topics such as Python, machine learning and data science. He experienced a 180% increase in enrollments over his average daily enrollments on Black Friday.

365 Careers – 365 Careers has been publishing financial and accounting courses on Udemy since 2014. The company provides a “career track” series of courses on Udemy for those who want to pursue a Finance career. The company saw a 265% increase in daily enrollments from its average on Black Friday.

We’re guessing this is largely due to their recent addition of data science and statistics courses and the fact that many of their courses fall into the Excel category which was the 6th most popular topic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amit Huddar – Amit has created several courses on Ethical Hacking. This was the 6th most popular category during Cyber Week. It’s a good example of a niche topic that is growing in popularity. His enrollments went up by 225% on Black Friday.

Academind by Maximilian Schwarzmüller – Maximilian Scharwarnmuller has had a lot of success alone on Udemy. He recently formed Academind with other Udemy instructors. Adademind produces many “complete guide” courses on popular software such as React and Flutter. Enrollments increased 150% on Black Friday over average sales.

Conclusion

It would appear that software, web development, programming, and IT courses are becoming the norm on Udemy. One instructor as we said felt that Udemy was pushing these course categories lately.

Yet many non-tech categories also benefitted nicely from Udemy’s Cyber Week sales. One of the top-selling instructors seemed to do very well by using the strategy of launching a lot of courses during Cyber Week.

If you like these kinds of insights, why not try our app for free?

Finally, one instructor told us that he felt this Black Friday was not as successful, noting that he thinks Udemy spent less on promotion this year. True? Who knows?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. How was Cyber Week for your sales?

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