Global Business: 5 Languages That Dominate the Market (Part 1)

The power of the internet can kick-start your global business suddenly. Is your content already multilingual – or are you still looking for your languages of choice?
Start of your global business journey right

The best language for business is the local language of your target audience – it’s a fact confirmed by several surveys and studies.

According to the CSA research, 75% of consumers prefer to be informed about a product and purchase it in their native language. But which languages have the highest reach and may provide you with the most potential to succeed?

It is not only the choice of language, but the culture behind it as well.

No copy & paste approach will do the trick here, as every global consumer profile has its own distinctive persona with an underlying importance of its home community and its unique culture. Some foreign markets won’t accept the presence of your global business if you’re not willing to adapt your offer to their culture.

At this point, localization becomes the closest business partner to any global business. Here, we’ve already written about the importance of adaptation to foreign markets.

Let’s take a closer look at the first 5 languages.

English

It is without a doubt the most used language on the internet; in fact, 60.2% of all websites are in English.

Since it’s also the most widely facilitated and understood language, you can (almost) never go wrong when choosing it for general communication – such a language is called lingua franca.

Nevertheless, you are entering treacherous waters here. It is useful to know that some foreign business partners might prefer communicating in their native language, while others will appreciate your attempts of linguistic adaptation as simple courtesy.

In the Western world, English is the all-conquering force on social media since it’s the language of pop culture and science. So if you’re targeting an audience that frequently uses social media, adapt your language to the language used on social media.

Shakespearean English has its place in books and weighty articles, whereas concise and pragmatic language is more suited for general audience.

English is an official language in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.

Englsih as the most spoken language

For now, we will focus on the U.S. and the United Kingdom and their differences when it comes to consumption patterns.

For example, the British are more environmentally conscious, prefer organic products and are more open to buying things online.

On the other hand, Americans tend to be more open towards foreign brands, are more likely to be affected by emotional advertising and rely a lot more on brand reviews – 74% of social networks users make decisions based on feedback and reviews of a product or service.

Mandarin Chinese

According to Ethnologue, one in six people in the world speaks Chinese.

That’s why it can only improve your global business brand if you can provide your content in Chinese as well.

Whether you do or don’t have Chinese customers, it can really provide you with an image of a global business that is ready for an international journey.

Interestingly, Chinese consumers are very curious about new offers, especially about foreign products. Keep in mind, however, that to them, price is the real indicator of the quality of a product.

This means that foreign brands can’t just rely on their exotic attractiveness anymore. For example, both Revlon and L’Oreal’s Garnier announced in 2014 that they are withdrawing from the Chinese mainland market because of poor revenue.

Why did this happen? Because of a combination of factors that led people to perceive both brands as of poor quality regardless of their true quality.

Since the Chinese market is huge, you can either win or lose. That’s why brand awareness and advanced marketing play a key role when it comes to getting traction.

What can help you with introducing a new product is definitely social media marketing, because an increased use of social media has been observed as helpful when it comes to promotion.

Be successful in the Chinese market

Spanish

Have you ever considered the idea of entering the U.S. market?

It is natural for you to think that providing your content in English would be sufficient. But did you know that in the U.S., there are about 50 million Spanish speaking people, and many of them run large and small businesses? Considering the U.S population of about 328.2 million, this comprises 15% of the American consumers which is not a negligible share.

What about Spain? It is a consumer society, where price is one of the main determining factors of a purchase.

expanding your global business to the spanish market

In a survey by Santandertrade, 70% of consumers said they plan their spending in advance, including some buffer space for unplanned purchases as well.

It is also important to notice that e-commerce revenues are looking quite promising since Spain has 38 million online users. So if you plan to start with your global business campaign first online, Spain is a highly potential target audience.

In addition, imported products are widely consumed as well. However, national products and products inspired by Spanish culture are even more favored. Even more, they’re less focused on brand popularity and seem to have a soft spot for new products on the market instead.

German

Did you know that Germany is Europe’s largest online market? Germans are really open to global products, although they are slightly more oriented towards European ones.

They are also very well-educated consumers: they tend to learn more about other similar products and features before buying anything. This is completely understandable as they demand only the highest quality.

What’s even more interesting is that they are more inclined to buying organic (vegan and ‘green’) products due to their high environmental awareness.

How to conquer the German market

Just recently, results of an international survey have been published. They studied the impact of COVID-19 on consumer habits.

More than 50% of consumers have changed brands, stores and the way they shop. Furthermore, they are willing to try other brands’ products if they are convinced by its value and convenience.

20% of consumers said they will move to less expensive brands. They have also estimated a 20-45% increase in their online purchases.

So if you plan to launch your global business in Germany, keep that in mind when you’ll be planning your content marketing strategy.

Portuguese

specifics of the Portuguese market
The Brazilian culture is definitely one of the most diverse ones. It is fascinating that almost the entire Brazilian population can be reached through hundreds of national TV channels – especially when telenovelas are on.

Brazilians often buy in popular discount chains and in atacarejos – shops that include both retail and wholesale. They also spend a lot on electronics and beauty products since Brazil is one of the largest beauty products markets in the world.

Additionally, Brazilian e-commerce is gradually gaining in popularity. Interestingly, their decision-making process can be deeply influenced by social media or online reviews.

On the other side, there’s Portugal. Their spending is more prudent and budget-aware; usually they buy whatever is cheapest. Every year, almost half of their spending can be attributed to products that are on sales.

Despite the fact that e-commerce is on the rise, they still value personal interactions and first-hand shopping experience. That’s why in-shop purchases are still more popular. So if you plan to include Portugal in your global business map, you better make sure you approach the Portuguese consumers in a more personal and conventional way.

In the Portuguese market, your global business could also gain more traction if your product or service includes an aspect of environmental awareness since the Portuguese are highly environmentally conscious.

Frequently asked questions

The five most spoken languages are English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German And Portuguese. But before you decide on a new market, make sure to do research on which markets could actually benefit your business.

Before companies enter any new markets, they do a thorough research of which market is the most promising for their business. After the research stage, they proceed with localizing their content into the native language of the target market.

If you want to make a good impression on your future customers, make sure to localize your content. Localization helps improve your company’s credibility, as studies have shown that customers rather buy and trust companies that offer product information in their native language.

Do you find any of those languages perfect for your global business campaign? If you do, but don’t know which translation service to use, you can read here how the Taia Translation platform can help you with your translation needs.

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