In the 12 months of 2013, more than 375,000 new users signed up to use the website – an annual increase of 43% that pushed the number of host families and aupairs who have registered with us to over 1.8 million since our founding in 1999.
These developments make it clear that for au pairs and for host families, the au pair option is growing more and more popular every year. At AuPairWorld, it is our daily challenge and overall business mission to keep pace with the evolving needs of our users and help them to take advantage of the unique benefits to be found in the au pair model.
Building on four years of double-digit growth, AuPairWorld recorded its strongest year ever in 2013. A total of 299,680 new au pairs registered at the site in 2013, an increase of 45% from 2012.
In the same period, 75,600 new host families became registered users, making for an increase of 33% in this user group.
Sustained growth of this magnitude does not occur often in any business field. Two phenomena seem to be driving these developments for AuPairWorld.
Most basically, the au pair model has great things to offer to both the au pairs and the host families who make use of it. Families with young children get premium, personalised childcare at great value with a further benefit of cultural exchange for family members both big and small. Young people going abroad as au pairs have the opportunity to sharpen their language skills and their intercultural competence. At the same time they have a learning experience that is full of fun and adventure and is readily applicable to future careers ranging from social professions to international business.
These benefits are well known and are certainly gaining in significance (and thus in popularity) as globalisation takes hold more and more around the world. The au pair experience gives individuals the chance to come to terms with the challenge of being a global citizen and competing in a global marketplace in a way that is based on the family virtues of finding common interests and mutual benefits. In a nutshell, au pairing is a simple and effective way of finding personal connections in a globalised world that delivers benefits to all concerned.
But AuPairWorld's exceptional growth is not merely a function of the popularity and attractiveness of au pairing in general. Many companies are trying to offer similar services to those that AuPairWorld provides and none is having the same degree of sustained success in the European market. The key to AuPairWorld's consistently high growth rates is also to be found in its unique mix of practical web functionality, unparalleled information offerings on all aspects of the au pair situation, and friendly, personal customer service offered in six different languages. As the market leader, AuPairWorld also makes a point of maintaining the highest quality standards with rigorous profile checking, careful system monitoring and ongoing safety reviews for our users.
As can be seen in the bar graphs below, the dominant nationalities for au pair registrations continued to be in Western Europe. Growth rates in the three leading countries Spain, France and Italy ranged from 43% to 84%, and there was continuing growth across the board in the rest of AuPairWorld's core European market, with Germany and Great Britain maintaining their positions among the top 5 countries for au pair registrations. Cumulatively, 78% of the au pairs who registered at AuPairWorld in 2013 came from countries belonging to the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Despite this basic European orientation, the growing popularity of the au pair option and AuPairWorld among young people in North America is also noteworthy. Registrations in the U.S. grew from 7,650 to 12,530 (an increase of 64%) and in Canada from 4,970 to 7,540 (an increase of 52%). Sometimes it is assumed that North Americans are not so aware of the need to develop foreign language skills and intercultural competence, but these figures tell a different story.
Another interesting development in non-European au pair registrations can be observed in the sharp spike in registrations from South and Central America. With 5,380 au pair registrations in 2013, Brazil is now among the top 10 countries in au pair registrations for the first time. Evidencing a similar trend, registrations also increased by 47% in Mexico to 4,180 and by 76% in Columbia to 3,120. Rounding out the intercontinental picture, au pair registrations in Australia also increased at an above average rate of 71% to reach a total of 3,480.
At 33%, the overall rate of increase in host family registrations more than doubled in 2013 in comparison to the 2012 growth figure of 15% (reaching a total of 75,600 registered families for 2013). Once again, six Western European countries were the principal drivers of this growth, these being Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Ireland (see bar charts below). After relatively flat single-digit growth figures in France and Germany during 2012, host family registrations moved upward more sharply in 2013 with increases of 29% in France and 21% in Germany. As with au pair registrations, host family registrations came predominantly from Europe with 86% of the 2013 registrations originating from families residing in EU or EFTA countries.
Host families from English speaking countries continue to play a major role at AuPairWorld. Once again, Great Britain was the top host family country with 13,890 registrations. Interestingly, Ireland with less than one tenth of Great Britain's total population nonetheless had 6,110 host family registrations – only slightly less than half of the figure for Great Britain. Above average growth was also to be observed in other English speaking countries. In Australia, registrations grew by 53% to 6,010, and in Canada, registrations increased by 39% to 1,650, thus putting Canada among the 10 top host family countries at AuPairWorld for the first time.
The popularity of au pairing among host families in these countries fits very well with the strong interest that many au pairs have in acquiring good English language skills. AuPairWorld's expanding capability to meet this demand among au pairs is certainly one factor in its growing success.