Vernacular importance cannot be neglected and especially in a country like India where we have such large diversity. Diversity not only in culture but also in languages, few points highlighting India’s diversity are:
- With 750+ languages in India, over 90% Indian population converse in vernacular
- Out of 400 mn internet users, 300 million prefers local languages
- Over 90% of video consumption is in vernacular language
- 70% literacy rate in India is for Non-English languages
- Indian non-language English speaker is expected to grow at CAGR of 18%
All these factors give rise to a huge opportunity not only from the business perspective but also to democratize our digital reach by taking these solutions to Tier I, II, III, and to the villages of India. Vernacular has been an important yet unexplored area of every digital business solution. When we say digital solutions we can easily say that vernacular can be applied in almost every digital solution. Let it be BFSI, Retail, Education, Agriculture, healthcare, and others, the vernacular solution can be applied everywhere.
As per a recent report, about 80% of India’s digitally monetizable users prefer their content in vernacular languages, not English. Vernacular monetizable Internet users have three times the total spending power of monetizable English internet users.
There are obviously challenges in the vernacular businesses also like numerous dialect like there are over 1600 dialects which makes it difficult to cover all aspects in any solution, content authenticity like confirming the genuine and fake content continues to be a big task, vernacular content creation like creating language-specific content is time-consuming and expensive, outreach like taking your vernacular product to the market. So challenges are many but if these challenges are properly taken care of than vernacular could turn out to be a huge opportunity.
Other than challenges there are lot of misconceptions about vernacular: misconceptions like vernacular users are from certain geographies only, a question mark is always raised on their buying capacity, age group is also doubtful and might not be relevant for business.
Now Irrespective of these challenges and misconceptions, various companies and start-ups have already developed various solutions to handle this large vernacular customer base and they continue to innovate to penetrate this market more and more.
We already have numerous vernacular solution in the market in areas like news publications, e-payments, multilingual chatbot, video sharing, audio files creation, text to speech product, networking platform, a self-publishing platform, typing software, and many more. Currently, we can combine all vernacular solution-based offerings under 4 categories: chat applications, digital entertainment, social media application, and digital news we would have easily crossed 1 billion users in total, which is huge. The success of vernacular start-ups like daily hunt, Sharechat, Roposo, Vokal, Pratilipi and others confirms the growth of this sector.
Vernacular has also been called the key to the future of E-commerce. Last year e-commerce giant Flipkart launched its platform in Hindi, and surprisingly they saw over 1.5 mn unique users using the vernacular interface every day. They saw 18% of new users onboarded are vernacular and saw stickiness of 95% in them. I think this example clearly shows the opportunity gates which vernacular can open.
Vernacular bots are one of the important areas of vernacular solution which has transformed the industry in a big way. Chatbot or voice bots are usually the interface between the customer and the company in various sectors. And when you take your digital solution to the non-metro cities or non-English language user, your solution should be efficient enough to be understood by these people or at least it should offer them an easy interface where they can ask their query and understand the process and that is where vernacular bots can help them. And frankly vernacular bot not only helps in handling versatile customers but it also helps in providing a good customer experience which is of high priority in every business every day.
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