Monday, January 28, 2008

Companies Embracing Web Site Localization Are Better Positioned to Compete in a Global Marketplace

JupiterResearch has found that in order for companies to compete in an ever increasingly global marketplace, they must position themselves for global online growth. Outlined in a new report "Web Site Localization: Best Practices in Global Expansion," the companies that are positioned for success in markets outside the United States are those that have not simply developed and applied a uniform template to their web sites, but have tailored the sites to the needs and tendencies of individual countries.

According to the report, 37 percent of all large US companies have not translated their web site content into any other language, despite the fact the average number of languages for the top 10 global brands is almost 30. Large companies that are not developing content for non-English-speaking markets-domestically or internationally-risk losing market share to competitors with relatively more targeted strategies.

The distribution of the global online population will shift over the next few years, but companies should bear in mind that online population does not necessarily correlate with online spending. While the number of online users in Western Europe outranks that in the US, the US online advertising market remains far larger than does the European online advertising market.

In 2007, online ad spending in the US was almost $20 billion, as compared to $11 billion in Europe. In contrast, online retail spending in Europe was roughly on par with that in the US. Meanwhile, in China, where the online population is about two thirds of the size of the US online population, online retail is still estimated to represent a small fraction of that in the US or Europe. As Internet markets mature and consumption habits begin to shift, both consumers and businesses marketing to consumers will boost their online spending. In many cases, however, this shift will take a number of years.

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