Top 15 Localization Facts and Stats
World languages are fundamental to our increasingly interconnected global community. Our ability to understand other cultures and communicate with people across the globe in their native tongues enables us to make the most of our ventures into new markets. In this new world order, the rise of world languages is causing English to fall into decline. There are over 7,000 languages in the world, but only 23 are the mother tongues of half of the world’s population.
The prevalence of world languages and the gradual decline of English can be attributed to the economic growth of other countries. For instance, China has always represented a huge potential market because of its sheer size. Now, it’s stepping up into the spotlight and gaining an important role on the global stage. Several other regions in Asia, Africa, and Oceania are increasingly projecting their influence in the global digital landscape. And this is not where the story ends…
To get a solid grasp of why localization is important for surviving in today’s interconnected business world, we’ve compiled critical stats and facts that make it obvious that your company’s capacity to survive and thrive in the global marketplace greatly lies in your ability to embrace new cultures and languages. Adapting your product to new markets through localization won't only expand your customer base but will also drive growth and profitability. Let's start.
Chinese is the most (natively) spoken language in the world
English is the largest language in the world if we count both native and non-native speakers. However, Chinese has the most number of first-language speakers, with about 1.3 billion native speakers concentrated in the country.
51.8% of the world’s internet users are in Asia
About 4.9 billion people in the world are now online, and around 2.5 billion internet users come from Asia. So, if you want to dip your toes in international waters to reach more people, you should consider navigating towards the Asian markets.
7 of the 10 top markets by iOS downloads and 9 of the 10 top markets by Google Play downloads are non-native English markets
Non-native English markets dominate both the iOS and Google Play charts for app downloads. Meanwhile, mature markets such as the US continue to see consistent numbers, but growth has slowed in the past few years.
More than 50% of all queries on Google are in languages other than English
Internet usage has been growing at a staggering rate in non-native English-speaking countries. Search engines have also evolved dramatically over the years to accommodate linguistically diverse audiences who are responsible for over half of all Google queries that are performed in languages other than English.
China claims to have over 980 million internet users, while the US has approximately 300 million
Approximately 989 million people in China now have access to the internet, roughly 98% of whom are mobile users. That means their internet population is now larger than the combined populations of the US, Mexico, Russia, and Japan!
China’s “Going Out” strategy drives the need for translation in international exchange
Thanks to the country’s “Going Out” strategy, the translation market in China is growing in importance. Software translation and localization are expected to facilitate the development of the nation’s economy, politics, and culture in this new world order.
China is the world’s largest app market
China accounts for nearly 50% of app downloads across iOS and Android. About $1 out of every $4 produced from these app stores are generated by the Chinese market.
About 40% of internet users will never buy from websites in other than their native language
Although most of the content on the internet is in English, many internet users don’t speak or read the language. About 40% of internet users won't ever buy from websites that aren't in their native language and are just staying on your website if you translate content into their native tongue.
Even among people with high proficiency in English, 65% prefer content in their native language
It’s not only non-English speakers who prefer to surf the internet using their mother tongue. Even 65% of people with high proficiency in English would rather look up something online in their native language, even if it's poor quality.
Around 75% of online shoppers say that they’re more likely to purchase again if the aftersales care is in their language
If businesses intend to improve sales, translating and localizing content into other languages would make a great start. After all, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy the same brand again if the aftersales care is in their native language.
Nearly 76% of internet users prefer to read product information in their native language
In the digital era, businesses should realize the potential of translating information in different languages. You can reach more people given that 76% of consumers would rather read product information in their native tongue.
There’s a risk of losing 40% or more of the total addressable market if online stores aren’t localized
Businesses that sell products or services in English to non-native English speakers have a better chance of converting the majority online shoppers if their website is localized instead.
44% of internet users in the European Union feel they are missing important information when webpages aren’t translated in a language they understand
Translating and localizing content will help you build trust with your audience. In the EU, 44% of people can’t quite trust websites offering content in a language other than their first, fearing that they might miss crucial information.
In Sweden—which has one of the world’s best non-native English speakers—over 80% of online shoppers prefer to make a purchase in their own language
Even Swedes, one of the nations with the highest proficiency in English among non-native speakers, prefer to shop online using Swedish. To gain the trust and loyalty of your audience, you have to personalize the content based on their preferences, including language preferences.
Internet markets in Africa and Oceania are on the rise
Companies who are looking to engage with new audiences should explore Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, as they are home to many emerging markets.
Last updated on September 15, 2022.