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Global Digital Economic Opportunity Reaches US$45.1 Trillion—Addressable Through 116 Online Languages
(BOSTON) – How many languages does it take for global businesses to stay competitive online? Websites must be available in dozens of languages, with English, Japanese, and German leading the pack of most valuable online languages. 

According to independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory’s 2013 findings, it takes a minimum of 14 languages, which include Indonesian and Turkish, to get access to just over 80% of the total online population. To reach 80% of the economic opportunity, the research shows that online marketers need no less than nine languages, including Portuguese and Arabic. Global brands looking to appeal to 95% of the world’s online wallet will need 20 online languages. 

“If companies want to achieve higher levels of international revenue, their web presences must be multilingual. The addressable economic potential using online communication now amounts to US$45 trillion, but English now only gives you access to a third of that total,” explains Common Sense Advisory senior analyst Ben Sargent. 

These findings are detailed in the firm’s research brief, titled “The 116 Most Economically Active Languages Online.” It updates Common Sense Advisory’s proprietary metrics on the fastest growing languages online, in terms of total population and economic gravity. 

The November 2013 brief includes detailed calculations, metrics, and concepts for 116 languages online. To develop the research, the firm compiled and evaluated the gross domestic product (GDP), language data, and internet penetration across 197 countries and territories. “The 116 Most Economically Active Languages Online” covers:
  • Total Online Population (TOP), by language. The number of people online, across all countries where native speakers of that language play a measurable role in the economy. 
  • World online Wallet (WOW), by language. The cumulative share of economic output, representing opportunity for marketers, both online and offline, of those commercially important language populations. For example, the 101 million Japanese speakers online have a combined economic contribution of US$4.7 billion in the world economy.  
The firm’s research shows the potential ROI of translating into additional languages is much improved due to increased access and the expanding influence of digital content on daily life. Further, it concludes marketing planners should recognize that the greater effort entailed in translating into more languages is offset by increased benefits from expanding “world online wallet” values for each translation done.

An abstract of the research brief is available for free with registration. The brief, entitled “The Top 30 Online Languages,” includes:
  • Annual data and benchmarks on the size and economic opportunity available to marketers and other communicators in 30 online languages.
  • Analysis of how varying rates of growth affect share of total online population and world online wallet in 2013.
About Common Sense Advisory
Common Sense Advisory is an independent market research company helping companies profitably grow their international businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers. Its focus is on assisting its clients to operationalize, benchmark, optimize, and innovate industry best practices in translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization. For more information, visit: http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com or www.twitter.com/CSA_Research.

Media contact: Melissa C. Gillespie, Melissa@commonsenseadvisory.com, +1 760-522-4362
Submitted On: 11/18/2013

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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