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Website Globalization Investment Strategies Should Favor Fewer Countries and Languages; Findings Detailed in New Research by Common Sense Advisory

Before global businesses dive into website globalization and translation, research firm Common Sense Advisory recommends focusing on the nations or languages that provide the most likely return on investment (ROI). For example, only 10 mega-languages – including Chinese, Portuguese, and French – account for 76 percent of the people on the web. The firm’s latest research report, and the first in its 2007 series on website globalization, “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More Than Others,” identifies the countries and languages companies need to focus on to capture the business of the more than 1.2 billion internet users worldwide.

Lead report analyst Donald A. DePalma adds, “Our advice on how to pick markets takes several different tacks. We factor in gross domestic product (GDP), the total online population of a given country or language, and the cost of translating or localizing a website. We also propose a new measure called ‘e-GDP’ as a proxy for internet-addressable buying power.”

The report, which is available to Common Sense Advisory subscribers, details:

- Where to best expend online resources by focusing budget or staff on the countries or languages that can profitably cover the costs of translation plus adapting site logic, shipping, customer service, and other costly elements of website globalization.

- Recommendations for maximizing return and the number of economically active people online who are able to understand and purchase at a company’s website, including: translating the website into the top 10 languages spoken by internet denizens.

- "Online GDP” or “e-GDP" by language and a clear indication of which languages make the most sense for website globalization. Specifically, the report details the six languages that make up 88 percent of the addressable online market. Using this model, Common Sense Advisory suggests starting with English and then moving on to Japanese with its 13.2 percent (US$2.96 trillion) of world e-GDP.

- Budgeting scenarios for website globalization, including processes, technology, staff, and translation considerations.

According to DePalma, the changing demographics of internet users and the absolute necessity of targeting the countries with the highest ROI for website globalization is the catalyst behind the research series. “Ten years ago the U.S. stood at the epicenter of the web universe, English dominated the airwaves, and the dollar stood supreme. Today the U.S. is sixteenth worldwide in the percentage of its residents with broadband access to the internet and falling way behind in connection speed, China is coming on strong, and the dollar threatens to be supplanted by the euro as the world’s favorite currency.”

The published results are available to members of Common Sense Advisory’s research at http://commonsenseadvisory.com/research/report_view.php?id=55&cid=0.

Future reports will outline how to maximize the total available audience for a website, how companies around the globe guide visitors through their customer experience, what countries and languages these companies support on their websites, and how to benchmark against these sites.

Submitted On: 1/12/2011

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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