The US (16.8%) will fall behind China (18.8%) in online market share by 2015, according to Translated’s December 2011 T-Index, a statistical index that determines the online market share per country by combining the internet population and the corresponding GDP per capita.
The US boasted the largest T-Index in 2011, at 24.4%, ahead of China (11.5%), Japan (6.6%), Germany (4.9%), and the UK (3.7%).
Developing Nations to Gain Share
The 2015 projection shows that of 2011’s top 10 countries, developing nations China (63.4%), Brazil (43.4%), and Russia (26.2%) will see the most percentage growth in market share by 2015, while developed countries such as Italy (-43.4%), the US (-31.1%), Japan (-25.7%) and the UK (-27%) will experience the largest negative percentage change. In fact, Brazil, currently at 3% market share, is forecast to overtake Germany, the UK, and France to take the fourth ranking in 2015, with 4.3% share.
Localization Seen Critical
According to Translated insight based on December 2011 T-index data, localizing a website for the top 5 markets would enable a marketer to access 50% of the worldwide online sales potential. Meanwhile, reaching 80% or 90% of the global online sales potential would require localizing a website for the top 20 or top 36 markets, respectively.
English Remains Important
Although China is projected to overtake US in online market share by 2015, English (25.4%) will be the language with the highest potential for online sales, ahead of Chinese Simplified (18.9%). Spanish (8.5%) will be the only other language with significant projected sales potential, with Japanese (4.9%), German (4.8%), and Portuguese (4.5%) relatively far behind.
Travel marketers appear to be understanding the importance of language and localization in reaching the global consumer: according to a November 2011 report from Frommer’s Unlimited in conjunction with Tnooz, one-third of travel marketers operate a site in 2 to 5 languages, while another 26% plan to this year and a further 17% plan to have localized websites in over 5 languages. Almost three-quarters of respondents to the survey were planning to either increase (33%) or keep (41%) their translation budgets.
About the Data: To calculate the projection through 2015, Translated extrapolated a line between the 2005 and 2011 data points using Simple Linear Regression. Each country was assessed according to a single language, except where the T-index value of the country was in excess of 0.1%, in which case it was assessed within several language markets.