The Top Five Most Used Languages Online In 2020

06 December 2020

Ground zero of the human experience is built on communication, and in 2020, the most used languages online reflect a global conversation that you can’t help but listen in on: 

We’re ready to be heard, and understood. 

Be it business, economics, politics or society at large, the world population is challenging the historically English-speaking internet that currently exists; and if the latest statistics are anything to go by, then 2020 might be the year that moves the needle on every single front. 

 

What Are The Top Five Languages, And Why? 

English

English online representation isn’t a number that reflects popularity as much as it reflects how handy English can be on a global level. Visit any country in the world, and within a few minutes of loudly (and very English-ly) asking everyone around you where you can find a taxi, someone will hear you and respond to your (panicked) query with a useful level of English. 

 

The main reason? 

Most scholars agree that it’s because English is the language of globalization.  It’s an undeniable reality, the fastest spreading language in the world, and a dialect that connects the dots between individuals and companies from every geography and nation. 

 

Chinese 

19.4% of internet users speak Chinese, and with a rich economy  that regularly has the U.S quaking in its cowboy boots (which lets face it, are probably made in China), the global community of 1.2 billion Chinese speakers possess an impressive purchase power that places them at the top, or near top of most economic rankings. The increased presence of the Chinese language online is another impressive avenue of export which Chinese speakers are clearly winning, and you know what? We’re here for it.

 

Spanish 

One of the United Nation’s six official languages, Spanish is the official language of 31 countries, and as a nation historically known for fashion, is it any wonder that today, 19.2 million Spaniards shop online? In 2020, ecommerce is wearing her Flamenco dress, and she’s dancing up some serious heat, olé, olé, olé!

 

Arabic 

According to this fascinating Think With Google study, The MENA ecommerce market is worth an eye-watering 8.3 billion US dollars. It goes on to explain that "the UAE and KSA have some of the highest levels of internet, smartphone and social media penetrations globally, while Egypt has one of the highest levels of time spent online." 

As a language solution provider operating in the heart of the Middle East, this isn't news to us, as much as it's a darbuka-drumming triumph of successful digital transformation in the Middle East.

The most recent source-worthy statistic claims that as of 2019, Standard Arabic is the language of over 274 million people, and with our own track-record of translating over four million English to Arabic words every single month, we’re strapping in to localize and support business-building habibis’ across the land for years to come. 

 

Malaysian/Indonesian

Some might call this entry a surprising curveball, but Malaysian and Indonesian are two similar languages that share one clear thread; a population of the highest number of internet users in the world. Though unlike Spanish and Arabic speakers, 86.3% of the online presence of Malaysian and Indonesian users can be attributed to social media use. The popularity and widespread use of smartphones with internet access account for much of this traffic, but it’s an impressive language penetration rate for a socially-savvy portion of the world’s Malaysian and Indonesian population. 

 

But Does The Language You Speak Online Matter? 

Think about your share of the digital world, and how much space it occupies in your day to day life. The amount of time you spend in the digital world is entirely determined by the language you speak, and how much of your language the internet can speak back to you.

If you shop online in English, then the world is an endless marketplace of products and services that you'd never finish browsing in your lifetime. Still, if you're looking for clothes in French or Turkish, you may find your marketplace a little smaller, and a little less inviting. 

The internet represents a modern-day tower of babel, and the translation industry is in a constant battle to dismantle the divides that separate us, and create a more balanced, and globally representative language space - particularly online. 

 

The language you speak online matters in the sense that it determines how much freedom you have to shop, play, and socialize with the rest of the world.

 

And in 2020, the year a global pandemic forced us to stay indoors and live out our lives almost entirely online; easy access to information, media, services and products in our native language is suddenly more vital than it has ever been. 

 

Creating A More Inclusive Online Experience 

 

Embracing non-English language representation online, and understanding how culturally impactful and economically beneficial a multilingual internet can be, is one step we can take towards a more inclusive global marketplace, media outlet, and knowledge-sharing platform. 

 

Interested in translation or want to drop a quick marhaba our way? Visit e-arabization.com and check out how we’re contributing to a global marketplace that connects Arabic speakers with the rest of the world.