It is not English that is dominating the Internet in India. According to a report from search giant Google and consulting firm KPMG India, the Indian language users have overtaken over English language on the Internet in India.
“In the last few years, the rapid scale of adoption of Internet across the country has set the ball rolling and today Indian language users have already overtaken the total number of English language users on the Internet in India,” said the report.
India today has 234 million Indian language users online, compared to 175 million English users. And, this base “will continue to grow at 18% annually to reach 534 million in the next four years. 9 out of 10 new Internet users coming online today will be an Indian language user,” said report.
Tamil, Hindi, Kanada, Bengali and Marathi speaking users have the highest adoption online services, followed by Telugu, Gujarati and Malayalam. In the next four years, report said, Hindi speaking users alone will overtake English speaking users and will be the most used language on the Internet in India. Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu speaking internet users will form 30% of the total Indian language internet user base.
As far as what categories of services Indian language users are preferring more, the report point out that messaging, entertainment, social media and online news are the top four categories that have the highest adoption amongst the language users.
As per the report, about 169 million Indian language users are using messaging, 167 million use it for digital entertainment, 115 million use social media and about 106 million are using for online news.
Report forecast that digital payments, online government services, e-tailing and digital classifieds are small today but will see the fastest growth in adoption by language users. Currently, 47 million people use Indian language for digital payment, 41 million use for online government services, 42 million use mostly search related to e-tailing and 24 million uses Indian language for digital classified.
The report says that compounded annual growth rates for messaging and entertainment is 19%, for social media, it is 21%, online news has 22%, digital payments is 30%, online government services is 33%, e-tailing is 32% and digital classified has 32%.
On the behavioural aspects, the report says that 99% of Indian language users access internet through their mobile devices. The overall share of internet users in India accessing internet through mobile devices is 78%. In fact, 68% Internet users consider local language digital content to be more reliable than English.
“About 35% of Indian language internet users access government services, classifieds, news and payment services exclusively online. Also, language enabled pre-loaded applications and web browsers see higher adoption among first time/new Indian language internet users. The report also predict that 88% of Indian language internet users are more likely to respond to a digital advertisement in their local language viz a viz English,” said report.
On the challenge faced by local language users, the study said that 60% Indian language internet users stated limited language support and content to be the largest barrier for adoption of online services. 80% of Indian language internet users face challenges in using English keyboards. About 55% of the users find the high cost and limited internet access as key barrier for using the Internet regularly
Expected Growth in Indian language Internet users by 2021
Online News will become the 4th largest online category reaching an estimated 280 million users from current 106 million today. About 32 Million Indian language users consume news exclusively on a digital medium today. Over 60% of Indian language internet users prefer to consume regional or local news. Companies curating local news in Indian languages will play a larger role
Online government services will be the fastest growing category amongst language users and will be used by 172 million users from current user base of 41 million. About 28% of the Indian language internet users access Government services online for filing applications, job search, accessing information on Government schemes and tax related services. Online Government services will see the highest adoption by Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Gujarati speaking users online.
The e-tailing industry which is currently accessed (not transacting) by 42 million online Indian language internet users, will see a 3X growth to reach 165 million Indian language users. Convenience and product range variety are the key reasons for language users to shop online.
Total share of Indian language internet users accessing online payment services is expected to increase from 28% today to 43% (from current 47 million to reach 175 million). In digital payments, Hindi today accounts for the 50% of the current Indian language internet users. Huge potential to grow in other languages
Digital classified companies are poised for growth with Indian language focus as 30% of Indian language internet users access classified services offline and 50% of these users are likely to adopt if provided in their preferred language. Total user base will grow from current 24 million to 100 million. Jobs, Matrimony and Real Estate will see robust growth.
Digital advertising in local languages is expected to reach an AdEx of $1.5 billion in next four years. The share of digital advertisements in local languages is expected to increase from 5% to about 35% by 2021.