Indian languages will be the growth locomotive; it will account for 75% of the total Internet user base in India by 2021
According to a study by Google and KPMG India over the next five years, nine out of 10 new users of the Internet from India will be language users.
By 2021, language users are expected to grow at 18 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to 536 million. In the same period, English-language users are likely to grow by a mere three per cent CAGR to reach 199 million. Indian language Internet user base is expected to account for 75% of the total Internet user base in India by 2021. Hindi Internet user base is likely to outgrow English user base by 2021.
Not only that, the Indian languages Internet user base is also expected to be very active online, thanks to reducing cost of smart phones and increasing data consumption catapulted by the Reliance Jio phenomenon. The massive penetration of affordable local language-enabled smartphones is also expected to power user generated content (UGC) online.
Apart from Hindi, which will account for 38 per cent of the total users on the Internet in five years, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu will comprise 30 per cent of the total.
Acknowledging this emerging trend, Google recently expanded support for nine more Indian languages, including Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada, across various products to ensure more people can access the Internet in a language of their choice.
The government too is playing its part by is empowering the ‘Digital India’ revolution with plans to invest more than $350 million in increasing digital literacy in rural areas.
To engage with this large digitally dynamic consumer base spread across tier 2 / tier 3 cities apart from the top metros; brands will need to be collaborate with digital media platforms that are addressing this emerging opportunity. Brands will need more localised content to reach out to and engage with consumers.