"The volume of new internet users is growing in straight vertical line for the past 18-20 months after the data charges had come down to just about Rs 15-20 per gigabit following the entry of Reliance Jio from a level of as high as Rs 250 per 1 GB data in the past," Rajan Anand, internet technology company Google's vice president (south east Asia and India) said while disclosing these latest data points on Tuesday.
Those who are accessing internet content in local languages have already overtaken the English language internet user base by a huge margin as they currently number 235 million compared to 175 million of English language internet users, according to Rajan Anand.
Internet search engine giant is currently engaged in adding the Indian languages to its advertising product platform so that the local language content developers would be able to monetise their work by accessing the digital ad spend. The rise in local language internet user base coincides with Google's ongoing focus on Indian languages and this is expected to give a boost to the expansion of internet content in local languages.
The company has recently added Telugu language support to its advertising products-Google Adwords and Google AdSense, a fourth Indian language to be placed on its advertising platform after Hindi, Bengali and Tamil. While the company intends to eventually extend the ad support to all other Indian languages, its officials said that in the near term at least all those 8 languages that are a part of YouTube advertising ecosystem would be part of the new initiative in the near future.
Shalini Girish, who head Google Marketing Solutions, believes that the language internet user base would grow at 18 per cent year on year to reach 536 million in the next four years while the English language internet user base would increase at 3 per cent a year to get close to the 200 million mark during the same period. All the Internet-based services including digital payments, e-tailing, e-classifieds and government services will become very sizable by 2021 with the expansion of internet user base in the country, according to her.
Local language internet content currently attracts just 5 per cent of the digital ad spend and it is expected to go up to 35 per cent of the total $ 4.4 billion pie by 2021, Girish said while quoting the recent KPMG study. With local languages being a part of Google offering, the advertisers can select a particular language or languages to reach out to the vast sections of Indian population as the advertisements in local languages are expected to build a better connection with them.
The Indian language internet users are spending time on all major categories of content similar to the English language internet users except for food and drinks and health-related stuff, according to Google. In India about 169 million people are using internet for messaging, 167 million people are accessing the digital entertainment, 115 million internet users are spending time on social media and over 100 million users are surfing the news on a daily basis.