In order to truly understand the potential impact a multilingual website can have on your business, it’s important to start by learning just how many potential customers are available to you in your target market and how to maximize your reach to your intended audience.[sg_popup id=91]
Though English speakers still make up the second largest group among languages spoken the world over, it’s worth noting some of the top languages and how many people speak each. The top spoken languages include:
Mandarin – Over 1.2 billion people speak Mandarin as a primary or secondary language.
English – English comes in second with 850 million speakers worldwide.
Spanish – Spanish speakers make up over 500 million people.
Arabic – Over 490 million people speak Arabic.
Hindi– 380 million people speak Hindi.
Russian – There are 260 million Russian speakers in the world.
Portuguese – 220 million people speak Portuguese.
French – 220 million people speak French.
One Country May Include Multiple Languages
Even if you aren’t looking to expand your business globally in the literal sense, it’s worth noting that most countries have large groups of people who speak a language other than the region’s native language. The United States, for example, has a large Hispanic market which makes up about 15% of the country’s labor force with significant growth expected in the near future. The Hispanic market within the United States holds a purchasing power that exceeds $1.38 trillion dollars and will continue to rise. This particular group represents a huge potential market for business owners who could grow their customer base by leaps and bounds.
Consider the various languages that are spoken within the country or countries you’re looking to target for future growth. By localizing and translating your content into one or more of these languages, you open the door for your business to reach largely untapped markets and move toward greater growth.
Most Used Languages On The Internet
English speakers continue to dominate the internet with 565 million users speaking English as their first language. However, a close second are Chinese speakers who make up 30% of internet users at 509 million users. Many new businesses often overlook this huge group which may hold thousands, if not millions, of new customers for those who want to take their business global.
Below you will find the top spoken languages by internet users and the percentage of content you will find on the internet by language. These numbers give a high level overview for who is on the internet and where potential content gaps currently exist on the world wide web.
Top Spoken Languages By Internet Users (2015):
- English – 565 Million Users – 33%
- Chinese – 509 Million Users – 30%
- Spanish – 164 Million Users – 10%
- Japanese – 100 Million Users – 6%
- Portuguese – 83 Millions Users – 5%
- German – 75 Million Users – 4%
- Arabic – 65 Million Users – 4%
- Russian – 60 Million Users – 3%
- French – 60 Million – 3%
- Korean – 40 Million – 2%
% Of Internet Content By Language (2015):
- English – 55.7%
- German – 6%
- Russian – 6%
- Japanese – 5%
- Spanish – 4.6%
- French – 4%
- Chinese – 2.8%
- Portuguese – 2.5%
- Italian – 2%
- Polish – 1.7%
So What Does This Mean For Your Multilingual Website?
As seen, English speakers make up the biggest segment of internet users at about 33%. Though this is the biggest segment of users, English content makes up 55% of all content online. This means that English internet content is much more saturated than other languages online.
There’s a good chance that new target audiences that speak another language other than English are having a hard time finding the content they seek in their native language. Creating a multilingual website can go a long way to fill this void and put your company in a much better position to meet the needs of these large groups of potential customers.
The data shows that we are still relatively early on in the “world wide web” in regards to global content distribution as content in languages other than English hasn’t saturated the web like it has in English. If companies begin to position themselves in the present, they are likely to increase their online “market share” in the future as global economies continue to adopt the use of internet moving forward.