It is not English anymore that is dominating the Internet in India. According to a report from search giant Google and consulting firm KPMG India, Indian language users have overtaken 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 the 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 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. “About 169 million Indian language users are using messaging, 167 million use it for digital entertainment, 115 million use for social media and about 106 million are using for online news,” said the report.
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Report forecasts 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 for searching e-tailing products and 24 million use it for digital classified.
On the growth, the report said that compounded annual growth rates for messaging and entertainment is 19%; for social media, it is 21%; for online news, it is 22%; digital payments will see 30% growth; online government services will witness 33% growth; for e-tailing, it is 32% and digital classified will see 32% growth.
On the behavioural aspects, the report highlighted 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.
On the challenge faced by local language users, the study said that 60% of 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,” said the report.