India is a huge country and one of its kind. It’s a land of diversity with diverse languages, cultures and attitudes. One of the biggest differences in India is language diversity. We have over 22 official languages, multiple vernacular languages and over 6000 dialects. There is a popular saying that depicts India’s linguistic diversity rather well: “Kos-kos par badle paani, chaar kos par baani” (The language spoken in India changes every few kilometers, just like the taste of the water).
To tap the power of the vernacular languages and realize the “Digital India” dream, we need to develop an India Internet ecosystem that will raise Internet adoption and promote digital empowerment through vernacular interface and content. After all, the language that you talk in, is which you think in, is what you are most comfortable with. You have heard that “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Internet in India has changed drastically over the last two years. India’s internet population is around 450 million users, and over 390 million of these are active users. But, according to search, what’s driving online consumption is the growth of regional languages on the Internet and increasing video consumption. You don’t need to be proficient in the English language to be able to promote your business on digital media channels. With just 125 million people speaking English in the country, there is a huge market to be tapped yet.
A recent study by KPMG India and Google has two key findings:
- Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18 percent vs English users at a CAGR of 3 percent.
- 9 out of every 10 new internet users in India over the next five years are likely to be an Indian language user.
With 88 percent of Indian language internet users more likely to respond to digital advertisements in local language over English, both domestic and international companies are fast taking steps to meet this growing need for Indic content. Tech giant Google has recently added voice search capability for 8 additional Indian languages. Microsoft has announced support for email addresses in 15 languages. Transforming its brand strategy in India, Amazon India announced support for sellers in 3 Indian languages. It is now more than evident that regional language internet usage is where the real growth will be in India.
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