Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

‘Users of Marathi, Telugu more digitally engaged than Hindi’

Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Sindhi and Santali are the most widely used minority languages online

New Delhi: While Hindi is the most widely used Indian language online, users of Marathi, Bengali and Telugu show more engagement, a report by Reverie Language Technologies showed.

The Digital Indian Language Report (second edition) analysed online language usage patterns of 89,000 Android users who have installed Reverie’s app, Indic Keyboard Swalekh Flip.

The engagement level corresponds to the average number of words typed per user in a language. “This data point shows us that users of these languages, especially Marathi and Telugu, which already have an inherent linguistic tendency towards longer words, show greater propensity to engage with digital services and platforms, driving usage beyond mere passive content consumption, into active usage territory," the report added.

Apart from major languages in India, minority languages, such as Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Sindhi and Santali, are also widely used online. “Almost 99% of Indian language users access the internet from their phone, which is why we have chosen to highlight the consumer insights of mobile internet users," said Rishi Kudale, marketing head, Reverie, which was one of the companies behind enabling regional languages on the BHIM app.

According to Kudale, most companies do not consider the requirements of non-English users while developing their products. They assume that non-English users do not have any significant purchasing power. “However, the report breaks this misconception as 22% of Indian language users own high-end smartphones, costing over 11,000."

Around 54% use mid-range phone models of 5,000-11,000. “This shows how essential it is for phone manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to ensure phones across all price bands have accurate, legible fonts and rendering in Indian languages for a seamless user experience," the report said.

According to the findings, four of the top 25 apps used by the user base are shopping apps such as Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm and OLX. Out of the top 25 apps used seven are messaging and social media apps, while only one gaming app was featured. “Sub-par Indian language experience limits the reach of these games," it added.

About 69% of Indian language internet users are from towns and villages with less than 100,000 people, while 13% are from cities with a population of over 2 million. Users from cities and towns with 100,000 to 2 million people make up for the rest.

According to a recent report by Google, around 500 million Indians are projected to be online by June 2018. Over 73% of these users are expected to use the internet in their own language. This number will grow to over 530 million Indian language internet users by 2020.

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