Regional language users will account for 75 per cent of the country’s internet user base by 2021, says a report. Affordable smartphones and low priced 3G and 4G connections are driving internet penetration and digital literacy in the country and access to high-speed internet connectivity is no longer restricted to metro cities, which is causing a massive shift in online content consumption patterns, according to the Times Internet study ‘The Changing Lingual Face of Digital India’. The regional language user base in India has grown at a compounded rate of 41 per cent between 2011 and 2016 to reach 234 million. This is expected to grow by 18 per cent CAGR to reach 536 million by 2021 against English which may grow at 3 per cent CAGR to reach 199 million by 2021. The Times Internet study surveyed over 90 million people and noted the rapid shift of digital users towards regional content consumption, as more than half of those are non-English readers.
More than two third of Hindi readers are also reading English, it observed. “Regional languages have surpassed English with a 66 per cent share in overall content consumption,” it said. Across all regional languages, news as a genre sees the highest content consumption at 67 per cent, followed by sports at 17 per cent and entertainment at 16 per cent.
Among female users, Gujarati language has the highest online content consumption at 44.78 per cent. It observed that content consumption in regional languages among younger audiences is fast growing, with consumption among Indians in the 25-34 age group being the highest.