Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins released her 2017 Internet Trends report today — the mother of all PowerPoint decks. I last commented on the 2014 deck.
A few slides jumped out at me this year — as part of her in-depth focus on India — noting that 46% of India’s Internet users primarily consume local-language content.
This number if higher than I would have guessed and underscores a point I’ve been making for several years now — the days of assuming you can succeed in India supporting only English are coming to a close.
Google and Facebook got the memo quite some time ago and now support a significant number of India’s 29 official languages. But the question is: When with the rest of the global brands get the memo?
After all, India is now the fastest-growing large market and with plenty of room to grow.
According to the 2017 Web Globalization Report Card, just 6% of the world’s leading brands support Hindi, which is the most popular of the Indic languages. Close behind are Urdu and Tamil.
Amazon is investing heavily in this market, no doubt trying to avoid the many missteps it made trying (and largely failing) to dominate China’s ecommerce market. Did you know that last fall Amazon celebrated India’s Festival of Lights?
India added more than 100 million web users in 2016, more than any other country.
If you have time, check out the full deck. Yes, there are more than 300 slides, but they’re a quick read and I guarantee you’ll learn something. I sure did!
PS: I’ve included a section on India in my new book Think Outside the Country.
I recently wrote an op-ed for the Seattle Times about the importance and value of thinking globally. Here’s an excerpt:
Consider Starbucks. In 2003, this aspiring global company supported a mere three languages. Today, it supports 25, which may sound like a lot until you compare it to many other global brands. Among the leading global brands, the average number of languages supported is 31, a new high based on my years of research. And then there are those companies that left 30 languages behind years ago — like Facebook, which supports more than 90 languages, and Google, which supports more than a hundred.
This degree of language growth isn’t just a tech phenomenon. John Deere supports 31 languages, Ford supports 42, and even Jack Daniels is fluent in 22 languages.
So while the U.S. leaders are speaking the rhetoric of isolationism, American companies of all sizes are speaking a different language — in fact, a lot of languages.
And here’s the full article.
I’m pleased to announce the publication of my newest book: Think Outside the Country: A Guide to Going Global and Succeeding in the Translation Economy.
This book is the result of the past decade spent working with marketing and web teams around the world. I’ve long wanted to have something I could pass along that would demystify the process of product or website globalization and provide insights into languages, cultures and countries. Such as Brazil:
Too often people get overwhelmed by the complexity of it all, not to mention bewildering lingo and acronyms such as FIGS (French, Italian, German Spanish) and L10n (localization). What I always tell people is that you don’t have to speak a half-dozen languages to succeed in this field, but you do have to know what questions to ask. Hopefully this book will help.
The book is now available through Amazon or by request from any local bookstore. You can learn more here.
PS: If you’d like to order multiple copies for your teams, quantity discounts are available. Simply contact me using this form.
I’m pleased to announce the new book Think Outside the Country: A Guide to Going Global and Succeeding in the Translation Economy, due out on April 10th.
Think Outside the Country is isn’t strictly about taking a website or mobile app global, though you’ll find plenty of real-world examples about how to do just that. Ultimately, this book is about taking yourself global. It’s about providing an understanding of the globalization process along with country and cultural insights so you know what questions to ask when you’re asked to, say, introduce a product into a new market or launch a global marketing campaign.
This book is intended for people who want to help their organizations expand into new markets as efficiently as possible without any embarrassing or costly mistakes. And this book is about showing respect for the people who live in these markets.
You won’t speak every language, understand every culture. And that’s okay. Nobody knows everything. But we can all know a little bit about a lot. More important, we can know what questions to ask. This book will help.
You can learn more here.
And it’s now available for preorder on Amazon.
PS: We will also offer quantity discounts if you’d like to order a batch for your teams.
I’m excited to announce the publication of The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card. This is the most ambitious report I’ve written so far and it sheds light on a number of new and established best practices in website globalization.
Here are the top-scoring websites from the report:
For regular readers of this blog, you’ll notice that Google is yet again ranked number one. But Google isn’t resting on its laurels. While many software companies are happy to support 20 or 30 languages on their websites, Google continues to add languages across its many products. Consider Gmail, with support for 72 languages and YouTube, with 75 languages. And let’s not overlook Google Translate, now at 100+ languages.
Google could still stand to improve in global navigation, though I am seeing positive signs of harmonization across its many product silos. But I do maintain the recommendation that Google present a more traditional global gateway to visitors across its sites and apps.
Other highlights from the top 25 list include:
- Consumer goods companies such as Pampers and Nestlé are a positive sign that non-tech companies are making positive strides in improving their website globalization skills.
- IKEA returned to the list this year after making a welcome change to its global gateway strategy.
- Nissan made the top 25 list for the first time. BMW slipped off the list.
- As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 54 languages (up from 52 last year); if we removed Wikipedia from the language counts the average would still be an impressive 44 languages.
- GoDaddy, a new addition to the Report Card, wasted little time in making this list. Its global gateway is worth studying.
- Luxury brands such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren continue to lag in web globalization — from poor support for languages to inadequate localization.
- The average number of languages supported by all 150 global brands is now 31.
But as you can see here, the rate of language growth, on average, is slowing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Companies are telling me that they are investing more on depth and quality of localization — which is of huge importance.
The data underlying the Report Card is based on studying the leading global brands and world’s largest companies — 150 companies across more than 20 industry sectors. I began tracking many of the companies included in this report more than a decade ago and am happy to share insights into what works and what doesn’t. Time is often the greatest indicator of best practices.
I’ll have much more to share in the weeks and months ahead. If you have any questions about the report, please let me know.
Congratulations to the top 25 companies and the people within these companies that have long championed web globalization.
The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card
Click here to download a PDF brochure for the report.