Localization statistics: Importance of localization in numbers

localization statistics

With over 7,000 spoken languages worldwide, the challenge of bridging these linguistic divides has never been more pressing. More than half of web content is written in English, but this dominance does not reflect the linguistic diversity of the Internet’s global audience. There are billions of internet users worldwide, and the vast majority prefer to consume content in their native language.

By embracing localization, companies can transcend linguistic barriers, foster deeper connections with their target markets, and ultimately achieve greater success in the global marketplace. The following localization statistics are proof of this, as they paint a compelling picture of the growing demand for localized content.

General localization statistics

According to Statista, there are over 5 billion users navigating the internet, but less than 26% understand English. At the same time, nearly 64% percent of all websites use English as their content language. This means that nearly 75% of all internet users struggle to comprehend the majority of websites, at least without the assistance of a translation tool.

The anticipated expansion of the language services market, which is a vital element of localization, indicates an increase from USD 72.22 billion in 2023 to USD 98.11 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.32% throughout the forecast period (2023-2028,) as we can see in this report from Mordor Intelligence.

Language services involve a workforce of 56,920 interpreters and translators in the United States alone, according to this report from Statista.

From this Harvard Business Review article, we learn that localizers commonly customize between 5% and 25% of a standardized format. There are, however, extreme localizers that are innovating by creating a variety of new, yet closely related, shopping formats to provide targeted customers with more convenient purchasing choices.

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Why businesses need localization

Localization is not just a convenience but a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to succeed in a globalized world. It is a known fact that customers appreciate content that is tailored to their language and cultural preferences. Take a look at why companies need localization with these compelling localization statistics:

According to Internet World Stats, there are over 5 billion Internet users worldwide, and nearly 3 billion of them come from Asia. Consequently, companies interested in globalization should consider localizing their products or services for the Asian markets.

There are over 7,000 spoken languages worldwide, but nearly 59% of the web content is written in English, as we can see in this chart from Statista. However, data from Internet World Stats shows that less than 26% of the internet users understand English.

According to a report from Harvard Business Review, of the Internet users surveyed, 90% indicated that, when provided with language options, they always chose to browse a website in their native language. Moreover, 19% of Europeans said they never browse in a language other than their own.

In the “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy – B2C” report, which involved surveying over 8,000 consumers across 29 countries, it was discovered that 65% of respondents prefer content in their mother tongue. Additionally, 40% would not purchase a product or service if it is not offered in their language.

Boyd Rogers, VF Corporation’s former president for supply chain believes that “It is not unusual for localization to improve sales by 40% to 50% while simultaneously reducing store inventories and markdowns,” according to this article from Harvard Business Review.

In his blog article, digital marketer Neil Patel explains how he saw an increase of 47% in search traffic and nearly 60% in new users after localizing his website into multiple languages.

Localization is a comprehensive process that goes beyond mere translation, encompassing a range of cultural, linguistic, and contextual adaptations to make content resonate effectively in a specific target market. In their article, video production company Post Service explains how user engagement rose to 4100% when content, disseminated through local channels, incorporates contributions from local staff.

A positive influence on revenue growth is reported by 84% of marketers worldwide who affirm the impact of localization, according to this survey from Unbabel.

Marketing localization statistics

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses can leverage localization for online content, including websites, social media, and email campaigns. Optimizing digital marketing efforts for local audiences contributes to increased online visibility and user engagement, as these localization statistics so clearly show:

A global survey from Unbabel found that 89% of marketers working for medium-to-large companies plan to localize content into additional languages within the next year. About 52% of the respondents said that the marketing content they are currently localizing is the website, followed by paid ads (46%), and content marketing materials (42%).

The survey also discovered that there is a significant movement toward implementing localized SEO, as 41% of respondents indicate that they are localizing their SEO for all markets, while an additional 40% are adapting SEO strategies for specific markets within their service scope.

Alas, according to the same survey, 41% of marketers report employing a highly manual localization process, while another 41% have a partially automated approach, leaving only 18% with a fully automated process.

Localized campaign creatives surpassed the English versions in both click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates, with an impressive 86% outperformance, as we learned from this article from Adotas.

AdParlor tested localized ads too. The result? Advertisements incorporating localized copy generated click-through rates that were 22% higher for women and an impressive 87% higher for men.

In their article discussing the important of localized marketing, SOCi states that local pages account for 72% of brand engagement while capturing 66% of content impressions. By sharing localized social content that connects with your target audience and garners engagement, you can accumulate a substantial number of impressions without requiring a large following.

In a global research report from Flow, most shoppers concurred that having product description pages (67%), product reviews (63%), and the checkout process (63%) available in their own language were the crucial areas for them.

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Localization technology statistics

Localization technology automates various aspects of the localization process, reducing manual effort and increasing efficiency. The following localization statistics show that localization technology is instrumental in making the localization process more efficient and cost-effective:

Our case study, where we discuss global leading marketplace Popsy’s experience with utilizing translation management system POEditor as part of their localization strategy, offers some vital insights. Since incorporating POEditor for localization into multiple languages, Popsy’s team experienced an average time reduction of about 30%. The company has observed a 25% enhancement in translation accuracy, thanks to the version control and collaboration tools. Additionally, the costs associated with localization have decreased by 15% as a direct outcome of utilizing POEditor.

According to this global survey from Unbabel, 39% of marketers report utilizing Machine Translation (MT) as part of their localization strategy, and they find that it is yielding quality results. Nevertheless, 80% of marketers report that translation cost is either increasing or remaining steady, despite the usual trend of MT leading to reduced translation costs.

Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools enhance the localization process by utilizing stored data to guide text translation. A ProZ survey found that a total of 88% of survey participants (professional translators) utilize at least one CAT tool for certain translation tasks. Among CAT tool users, 76% employ more than one CAT tool.

Translation Memory (TM) is a crucial component of the localization process. It is a database that stores previously translated segments of text, known as “units,” along with their source language counterparts. According to this research paper, the primary motivation for adopting Translation Memory (TM) is the quest for enhanced productivity. Findings indicate that leveraging TM can result in productivity gains ranging from 10% to 70%.

The integration of Voice and Language Intelligence in localization enhances the accuracy, cultural relevance, and efficiency of the process. This article from Market.us states that the Voice and Language Intelligence market is anticipated to secure a market share of USD 109.9 billion by 2032, characterized by a consistent CAGR of 21.8% from 2022 to 2032.

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To conclude

The statistics presented in this article underscore the profound impact of localization on today’s globalized world. The vast array of spoken languages and the preference for native-language content highlight the importance of tailored communication strategies. By adapting content to resonate with local audiences, businesses can establish trust and build loyalty more easily, and ultimately achieve sustainable success in the global marketplace.

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