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Localization: A Boring Way to More Revenue

· Mobile Zone

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Smartmobile market penetration is just accelerating ahead – this year 1.6Bn people will have smartmobile in their hands. Devices are spreading faster than language of the tech world - English. Soon the smartmobile market becomes a multicultural environment, yet a big piece of the ecosystem – smart mobile applications are still mostly in English.

Most of the developer community understands English and do not have any experience to be in discomfort of not knowing the language. Just how do you feel about this: Ha megérted ezt a mondatot – jelentkezz nálam egy üveg jó Pilsner sörért.

So how many people have this discomfort? There are no straight statistics available. Moreover, all app markets are quite shy about this topic. So we decided to do this homework and calculate the population of non-English speaking smartphone users. For each country we took the

  • Population - Wikipedia: List of countries by population
  • English knowledge - Wikipedia: EF English Proficiency Index
  • Smartphone penetration - Google: Our mobile Planet  

We used estimates for countries not having data based on counterparts in the same geo and having similar GDP. We simplified the calculation by assuming no correlation of English knowledge and smartphone ownership. You can argue about this, but hey, this is just an estimate.  Here are the results: 

The chart tells a lot – almost 3 out of 4 potential users are locked out from fully understanding your app, if you have only English version.

Moreover 4 out of 5 new smartphone users are not having English knowledge (404M non English growth v. 507M total growth). And – as we are progressing with cheaper devices into the 3rdbillion of smartphone users – this ratio will increase further. So, do we really get more downloads, users and revenue, if we localize our app?

One great study is by Distimo looking at app monetization of developing markets:

Localized apps are overperforming more than 10x other apps in monetization. In Russia, the 7% localized apps deliver the 70% of the total revenue, while the 93% non-localized apps bring only 30%. 

Being curious we put together a simple market research app – Application Language Survey - to get more insights. (The app is still on GooglePlay – if you want to look at – and still sending us data). After 1,000 answers we found the following:

  • 20% of users are happy with English versions – this is roughly inline with English knowledge.
  • 5% of users are happy with the current portfolio of local apps.
  • But the majority 75% would require more localized app.

So, how can we leverage this customer demand? As a developer, how do you know which market would demand your app, if it were localized? Which Language Service Provider to turn to have the best deal? And how to conduct an uncomfortable and boring localization project?

We have the good answers: we take all the localization task at no cost. Interested? Check out www.transround.com 

The Mobile Zone is brought to you in partnership with Strongloop and IBM.  Visually compose APIs with easy-to-use tooling. Learn how IBM API Connect provides near-universal access to data and services both on-premises and in the cloud.


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