Desi Content to Fuel Growth in India

Indian languages are slowly dominating English in internet usage. Hindi and vernacular languages will dominate as more Indians go online, with growing regional language content, falling data prices and cheaper smartphones. "English is over. There are only 200 million Indians who are proficient in English and they are already on the internet," according to Rajan Anandan, VP for Google's India and South-East Asian operations. "Almost every new user that is coming online-roughly nine out of ten — are not proficient in English. So, it is fair to say that almost all the growth of usage is coming from non-English users." he says.

By 2021, content consumption in Hindi will be bigger than consumption in English, according to Google estimates. A study conducted by Google, in partnership with KPMG, highlights this trend. "India today has 234 million Indian language users online, compared to 175 million English users ... Our study reveals that 99% of local-language users access internet through mobile devices. Share of Indians accessing internet through mobile (including English) is 78% ... For this growth to continue, you need good-quality smartphones at Rs 3,000, and even lower at Rs 2,000.". The study found that adoption of internet through Desi languages is led by services such as messaging, digital entertainment, social media and online news.

Affordable data has been one of the main reasons behind the growth in internet adoption by people across the languages. Jio has led a reduction in data tariff plans. Adoption of internet is highest among Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati and Malayalam languages. The Google-KPMG study estimates that Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu will form 30% of the total local-language user base in the country.


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