Market Sizing 2020

"Prediction is concerned with future certainty; forecasting looks at how hidden currents in the present signal possible changes in direction for companies, societies, or the world at large. Thus, the primary goal of forecasting is to identify the full range of possibilities, not a limited set of illusory certainties."

Harvard Business Review

For the first time since 2005, CSA Research did not release our Global Market Sizing numbers and forecasts alongside the verified rankings of the largest LSPs in the world. As professional market researchers, we knew that it would be irresponsible to forecast market trends in the waves of uncertainty that came with the pandemic. 
Now available, CSA Research’s guidance for this year and next based on comprehensive data from nine additional primary surveys, a revised methodology, and an extensive study of the industry and global economy.


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CSA Research’s “Global Market Sizing and Forecast” report analyzes three scenarios from the many that we ran. It also provides guidance* on how likely CSA Research finds the options and the range we expect the industry to fall in. 

*Analysis and guidance is as of November 2020.

  • Pre-COVID
  • Scenario 1
  • Scenario 2
  • Scenario 3

We began with our 2019 industry size forecast, for which we extrapolate growth to 2025 based on historical performance. Under this “no pandemic” model, the market would have reached US$51.94 billion in 2020 and US$54.17 in 2021.


The first scenario we evaluated is one in which the industry experiences an eight percent decrease in revenue for 2020, followed by low growth rates. This decline is based on the reported losses of freelancers in our survey for 2020 compared to 2019 and represents the most negative overall effects from our data.


The second scenario is one in which the industry closely tracks GDP. The industry loses 4.2% of revenue compared to 2019, but its recovery tracks GDP. That leads to a rebound spike in growth in 2021 (8.5%), followed by lower growth in following years. In this case, CSA Research bases the growth rates on October 13, 2020 forecasts from the International Monetary Fund.


Our third scenario uses the IMF forecasts for GDP as a baseline, but adjusts the figures to reflect historical patterns for how the industry has overperformed against the economy as a whole. It begins with a smaller decline in revenue, followed by a strong rebound in 2021 and continued strong year-over-year growth for the foreseeable future.