• 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. And if you try to find relevant data on the WEB, only very few articles are discussing it – mostly talking about the effect of localization, which we discuss in the next post.

    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 is the result:

    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 3rd billion of smartphone users – this ratio will increase further.

    So it's time to think about localization seriously – how much it can help to leverage the full potential of your app. In the next topic we will look at some success stories and what users were telling to us. Hope this data is kicking some thinking; please let me know your thoughts.

    Catch you later



    See it in action