India's Vernacular Medium Market - An Industry With Enormous Potential

Devashish Shrivastava Devashish Shrivastava
Jun 6, 2021 6 min read
India's Vernacular Medium Market - An Industry With Enormous Potential

Vernacular language is a spoken language used by the locals of a region. It is nothing but the native language of a place. Even though there are over 125 million English speakers in India, less than 0.3 million of those speak it as their first language. The rest speak in one or more of the 22 vernacular languages recognized across India.

Vernacular medium markets are the markets and verticals that leverage native languages for reaching out to their target audience.

Why Vernacular Languages' Expansion Is Important?
Popular Vernacular Languages
Giants Who Are Tapping Into The Vernacular Medium Market
Challenges To The Vernacular Medium Market
Growing Job Opportunities In The Vernacular Medium Market

Why Vernacular Languages' Expansion Is Important?

The stats below show the vernacular language users over the internet. Here are some observations on the state of the vernacular language segment in India:

  • Growing Internet and smartphone penetration in rural and urban areas and most of the present internet services are in English, therefore serving only the creamy layer who understand English and use it frequently. 80-85% of 460 million internet users still use Hindi or their native languages as their first language.
  • In the next decade, 9 out of the 10 new internet users will be from the vernacular bracket, and they are likely to use services that are in languages other than English.
  • With 20+ official languages, vernacular medium consumption is growing at a rate of 18-20% CAGR as compared to 3% of English consumption. This pegs the segment at billions of dollars.
  • Startups and digital giants are investing in this sector, and have realized that to capture tier-2 to tier-4 audience, expansion in terms of vernacular reach is important. Also, many people from big cities have started enjoying services and content in their native languages. Consider regional shows on Amazon Prime Video as an example.
  • Promotion of vernacular languages in India is a marketing tool to that can bring about tremendous benefits. People are slowly realizing the need for their vernacular language to be heard across the nation; they are the increasing of their native language for day-to-day activities.

Vernacular Language Barrier
Vernacular Language Barrier

Popular Vernacular Languages

In 2016-2017, 234 million Indian Internet users accessed content in their vernacular languages and 175 million dealt with English-based content. On plotting a chart of 100 people according to the language they use, we get: 38 people using Hindi, 8 Marathi,8 Bengali, 6 each for Telugu and Tamil, the remaining 34 people converse in languages like Gujarati, Assamese, etc. South Indian Languages like Telugu and Tamil had a faster rate of adoption, surpassing Hindi and Bengali. This may be due to the rise in the quality and consumption of their respective regional cinemas and content.

Vernacular Languages of India

Giants Who Are Tapping Into The Vernacular Medium Market

  • Many Indian startups like Ola, Paytm, Bookmyshow have already incorporated Hindi and other 7 languages for faster adoption and penetration.
  • Tech giants like Google and Microsoft are creating algorithms for Indian languages and their different dialects.
  • E-commerce giant Amazon recently launched the Hindi version of its website. It is also training its voice-based virtual assistant to become conversant in different languages and dialects. Amazon is also creating and encouraging local language web content on Prime Video.
  • Netflix, another video streaming giant,  is creating original Hindi content videos.
  • ShareChat, an Indian messaging app, allows users to share and see others' posts in major languages except English. Other vernacular apps in India are Daily Hunt, Roposo, and NewsDog which are famous apps that emphasize on content in local languages.
  • OTT entertainment apps are coming up with freshly brewed content in vernacular languages. Netflix, Amazon Prime, ALT BALAJI, and Hotstar etc fall in this category.
  • YouTube, the largest OTT giant has always provided content in local languages, thereby retaining a major chunk of its business. It is the oldest in the game. T-series, the largest Youtube channel with 100+ million subscribers is a Hindi-based music and film channel.
  • Upcoming startups are also launching their offerings in vernacular language along with English. Better butter, an Indian site offers recipes in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and is planning to launch more Indian language. Credit health is a medical app that provides assistance in Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, etc.
  • Social media sites like Facebook and WhatsApp offer their services in vernacular languages. These are the most popular sites for people to connect and ensuring the platforms supports vernacular languages like Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telegu, and Tamil is essential.

Vernacular Market In India
Vernacular Market In India

Challenges To The Vernacular Medium Market

  • Developing algorithms for Indian languages sometimes proves to be a tough nut to crack.
  • Dialect sometimes becomes a barrier because it changes in India after every 5 Km.
  • Developing FAQs, product descriptions, and other content.
  • India’s slow internet speeds and lower data consumption as compared to other nations.
  • Lack of internet education is a problem as people aren't able to use these facilities provided by the internet community to the fullest.

Vernacular Marketing Future

Growing Job Opportunities In The Vernacular Medium Market

  • Programmers and language experts will see a significant rise in employment opportunities for them. On the other hand, organizations need to pump in more funds to create a robust and error-free ecosystem.
  • The requirement of translators will increase to help the non-English speaking community.
  • The number of executives speaking in regional languages will increase. The customers care services for various organizations will need to revamp themselves.

Vernacular medium is making its way back to Indians. The reception of regional shows on platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix shows that everyone, be it the older or the newer generation, is interested in vernacular entertainment.

The availability of regional language as an option over the web is essential. As the older population becomes familiar with the wonders of the internet, services (websites, web apps, etc.) need to support multiple languages. With the Indian government aggressively promoting digitization, vernacular flexibility will soon become a necessity. The vernacular market is a gem that shouldn't be avoided because India is a heavily diverse country with tons of languages spoken by its people. And with such kind of demographics, it is important to have all the languages spoken in the nation to be included in the process of digitization.


According to recent research, the growth of India’s vernacular market base will touch 540 million by next year. There is more demand for localized content reaching new heights and challenging at the same time. The availability of such content for the huge user base in India will play a crucial part in the coming days. The huge gap between demand and supply will give scope to marketers to misuse this untapped market.

Brands should be conscious as to how to target their users based on what they consume on the internet. The best strategy is to know their user's interests and preferences. Brands can showcase content in the local language to gain maximum ROI. A diverse country like India with over 30 languages and 1600 dialects, has immense potential for consuming vernacular content. Are you aware that India has more than 234 million native language speakers who are active online? This shows the power and potential of vernacular content in the Indian context which can be made use of.


What is vernacular marketing?

With Vernacular marketing, we aim at reaching a larger set of audiences in the language they are comfortable with. This is the area where many digital marketers struggle to find appropriate marketing strategies.

What is Vernacular content?

This is a form of content that is created in regional languages targeting the non-English speaking audience. With the increasing number of non-English speaking audience, there is a significant opportunity for aspiring digital marketers that speak vernacular languages.

Why is vernacular?

The word “vernacular” helps express that the language used is that of a specific group, especially when it is different from the standard language used in that setting. The use of vernacular honors diverse cultures and helps you understand them.

How many languages are there in India?

India has over 30 languages and 1600 dialects. India has immense potential for consuming vernacular content.  

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