February 21, 2014
Can't Read, Won't Buy
by Donald A. DePalma, Robert G. Stewart, Vijayalaxmi Hegde  

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If you read English natively, you have enjoyed the best of the web since its creation. Content in this language has dominated the medium for nearly two decades while companies have catered to Anglophone markets and the enormous spending they generate. Even so, many corporations realize that billions of people don’t read English at all or well enough to make buying decisions, so they're increasing information in other languages to reach many more prospects. However, the big question is: If they localize their websites, will more buyers come? How much will localization help them grow?

Common Sense Advisory polled 3,002 consumers in 10 countries in their languages to test the hypothesis that companies can increase their sales by localizing their products and websites.  We found a substantial preference for the consumer's mother tongue. This partiality leads many potential prospects unsure of their reading skills to avoid English-language websites, spend less time during their visits, and not buy products that lack instructions or post-sales customer support in their language. In summary, we found that more local- language content throughout the customer experience leads to a greater likelihood of purchase. 

This report contains six sections: 1) a description of the survey demographics; 2) a discussion of the attraction of English among our respondents; 3) a review of the global customer experience as it relates to language; 4) alternatives to full localization; 5) localization beyond language; and 6) recommendations. 

  • Global Leaders
  • Industry Providers
  • Technology Vendors
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Pages: 59

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