Growth of regional languages online: a KPMG & Google Study

  • Team Social Beat
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  • Published Date : 24 August , 2017
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  • Updated Date : 5 March , 2019
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    • 6 min read

  • Only 10% out of the 76% literate population of India knows English
  • More than 234 million Indian language users online today

Surprising? These figures might sound counter-intuitive with so much focus on English given in digital media today. But it’s a fact that there has been a profound growth of regional content online. Consequently, this holds a massive implication for brands which are not leveraging regional languages for marketing their brand. With an anticipated CAGR of 41% over the next few years, the opportunity will only grow bigger. Taking that into account we have launched 22 languages. This website provides organizations with access to an audience of more than 50 million users nationwide. Companies can use a multilingual marketing strategy to showcase their products and services in over 22 languages through this medium. To understand this concept better, here are a few interesting insights from the latest study done by KPMG India and Google on the growth of vernacular languages in India on the digital front. Check out this video to understand why your brand must adopt a multilingual strategy:

 

Digital news: one third of digital news consumers are Indian language consumers 

Digital news has caught up easily because of its simplicity. Data is usually accessible through an app or a website with mobile compatibility. Big names have realized the importance of digital media due to the silent downfall in newspaper and magazine sales. Currently, there are 106 million users viewing digital news in local Indian languages. This figure is anticipated to add up to 180 million users by 2021. However, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Tamil make up 80% of the current users. The major categories of type of news viewed are general, sports and politics. This only means that there is a dire need of more companies to enter this segment, to keep India more informed and updated.

Digital classifieds to have major impact in matrimony,recruiment and real estate categories

Digital Classifieds are a very big sector. This sector has the potential to cause a ripple effect as people interact with each other in the same area and subsequently belong to the same target group. This would cause information to travel to a larger audience. Furthermore, Indian language usage would provide an extra boost by causing the information to reach nooks and corners of rural India. The top categories, which are looked up the most in classifieds, are matrimony, recruitment and real estate. Nevertheless, the only obstruction in digital classifieds is the lack of availability. This sector is anticipated to grow to an astonishing 100 million user base in the coming five years with individuals fluent in Hindi, Tamil and Kannada forming 70% of the total users by then.

Digital Payments to grow at 30% CAGR with almost 175 million users online

The sector of digital payments is estimated to grow at 30% CAGR and a humongous 175 million consumers are expected to use it with Indian language interface by 2021. These gates are mostly used for mobile recharge and utility bill payments. Tamil, Telugu and Kannada are heading the charts in the languages open to quick adaption and will form half of the users on the digital payment platform.

E-Tailing to reach 165 million users by 2021

According to statistics, Indian language users prefer buying electronics online rather than apparels or other accessories. As for the sellers, it has become much more convenient for local sellers to reach e-commerce giants like Amazon. One can sell their products on Amazon in five easy steps - the steps being creating an account, listing, taking products live and handing over the product to Amazon for delivery. It is quite convenient and hassle-free. The user base for e-commerce in local languages is growing at a high rate. It has a CAGR of 32% and is expected to add 120 million users in the upcoming five years. This popularity can be attributed to two major factors as voted highest by consumers: Firstly, the availability of better promotional offers and secondly, the huge variety of products available online which may not be present in the smaller cities or towns of India. The main obstruction users experience is the lack of end-to-end compatibility in Indian languages. However, as these obstructions show signs of quick recovery, e-tailing in local languages apart from e-commerce in English, will be a lucrative segment for the e-giants.

Digital entertainment to reach approximately 400 million users by 2021

It is no surprise that impressive progress has already been made in this segment. Currently, a mass population of 162 million exists as the user base. Keeping in mind that the predicted user base by 2021 is 392 million Indians, there is much more that can be done in the digital entertainment arena. The content has the space to be comparatively more experimental and creative than other platforms as the adoption rate is 90% for this sector. The viewer’s quickly adapt to the kind of material available to them. These users consume both audio and video mediums.

To tap into this huge market, we used local languages for our informative videos like the Chola Finance video which was very well received by the Hindi speaking locals. The video got a whopping 1,751,355 Views and more than 64,000 shares.

The challenge remains in picking the right medium like Facebook, Hotstar, Youtube, tvfPlay or other regional channels.

If you are looking to create videos, read our blog on how to create low cost videos.

Online government services growing at a CAGR of 33%

There are currently 41 million users under the segment of online government services. It is increasing at a CAGR of 33% and is expected to land at a massive 172 million in the next five years. Some of the applications that constitute online government services are tax filling, applying for government jobs and knowing about new rules and regulations. The Indian Government can use this platform to increase transparency and cut down corruption.  However, limited local language enablement combined with lack of interest and awareness poses a huge obstruction which needs to be addressed immediately.

Chat applications, Social media Platforms and digital write ups

Chat applications currently have a 170 million user base and are anticipated to reach a 400 million user base by 2021. Hindi is topping at a huge margin of 50% as of now. Kannada is expected to grow to a far second with a whopping 20% in the coming years. The major challenge in this is the upgrade needed in voice to text, language keyboard and transliteration.

Social media platforms have a total of 115 million local language users as of now. This figure is expected to grow to 300 million by 2021.The South is anticipated to dominate this area due to its better adoption skills.

Digital write ups are a very interesting scope for Indian languages on the digital platform. It will provide visibility for the users who want to put their content online. It will also provide job opportunities for local people by companies looking to improve their SEO options by generating more local language content online. Additionally, mobile friendly blogs are preferred by users. 54% of Indians would adopt reading write ups if they are optimized for mobile screens.

 

The Road Ahead

Government’s vital role: Government to digitally literate 60 million homes

This ongoing shift in India’s internet scenario has not gone past unseen by the Indian Government. Taking into account the increase in smart phone availability due to cheaper prices, a 176 million increment is expected till 2021. A striking 90% of these consumers are anticipated to be Indian language users. The government has taken this into account and made it mandatory for mobile phones sold in India to be Indian language friendly. Additionally, the government has also taken an initiative to make 60 million rural households digitally literate.

 Changing role of internet platforms

There are approximately 500 million Indian language users online. This figure will significantly have a huge impact on the nature of content presented on digital platforms. Additionally, this audience will be more inclusive of the elderly and the rural population. Also, as long as the type of sectors is concerned, Digital Classifieds, digital news and financial solutions will see a major boost.

Investments by B2C players

Due to the local reach, many B2C users might exploit the Indian language user base on various channels. Digital marketing in Indian local languages will get them untapped markets in India. The companies which will be involved could be news sites, e-commerce players, insurance companies and m-wallets to name a few. In tier 2 and tier 3 cities, this can be encashed at a higher level. Since 90% of the new mobile buyers are local language users, a whole new customer base can be reached through this medium. Here's an interesting video that tells you why you need to have a multilingual strategy if you want to create a strong digital presence among your regional audience.

 

Applications, Websites and digital advertisements

Indian language based websites and application will see a rise. Digital advertisements in local languages could also be used by B2C companies to increase reach. Additionally, Google display ads could be customized to the regional language of the state where they are being viewed.

Monetization of the newly generated data

This progress would result in new data generation for companies. The database, through structured investments, can be analyzed for specific language behaviors. This will help digital marketers in ad planning and targeting.

Voice recognition and language agnostic internet

We need to move to a language agnostic ecosystem. This is required to give a platform to the Indian language content creators.  Voice recognition will be of major help to the users who find using search and navigation through text a challenge.

It is affirmative that the preference given to regional languages will play an active role in internet consumption. It will also help explore a huge new market for brands. Brands that miss this bandwagon are sure to lose out on quite a few million potential customers. Furthermore, Indian language in digital will lead to the spreading of knowledge in rural parts of India. Tier 2 and tier 3 cities will also be of prime targeting in this arena. With such profound reach, it is safe to say that marketing through your regional language is the next step in digitizing India.

 




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