When it comes to buying from brands online, over four in five consumers won’t buy from a brand that doesn’t offer local language support
That’s according to a new report released by RWS, which asked 6,500 global consumers about their online habits and how they like to engage with online businesses.
RWS’s Unlocking Global Understanding research found that 62% of global consumers see the internet as very important when undertaking daily activities, with a third of people admitting they cannot live without the internet (35%) – rising to two-thirds in Japan. As a consequence, 20% of consumers spend over 10 hours a day online.
Yet when it comes to dealing with online companies, the provision of local language services can have a drastic impact on the user experience and the level of trust that consumers hold in different brands.
The vast majority of global consumers (89%) believe they should have the option of dealing with a company online in their preferred language, with half of those surveyed feeling strongly about this (49%). Despite this, 44% of consumers voiced their frustrations at the fact that the English language dominates the internet and consumer technology.
If brands want to access a global audience, 93% of consumers agree that these companies need to communicate with them in their preferred languages through all channels at all times. At a national level, 60% of Kenyans, 57% of Indians and 55% of Brazilians feel particularly strongly on this point. What’s more, although 77% trust businesses with a local presence, 58% agree that a localized online presence matches a physical presence in terms of trust.
Maria Schnell, Chief Language Officer at RWS, said: “It’s no surprise that consumers around the globe rely heavily on the internet for daily activities. Yet this dependency is being undermined by the fact that not all consumers are able to engage with companies in their preferred language. This can pose significant problems and foster feelings of alienation as consumers are forced to communicate in a foreign language. It also demonstrates a knowledge and cultural gap when it comes to marketing, advertising and customer services.
“The internet has the potential to truly empower people from local communities. However, this can only occur if companies are willing to recognize and appreciate local cultures, giving their consumers the opportunity to communicate in their own language. Doing so will open brands up to new market opportunities; if avoided, they run the real risk of alienating themselves from non-English speaking consumer markets.”