Global Marketing – Why the “Rest of the World” Does Not Exist

What many companies do when planning their global marketing strategies is to organize the world’s countries into three categories.

  • Core Markets – Markets that provide the lion’s share of a company’s bottom line and where a company is most established
  • Emerging Markets – Markets regarded as having the most potential for growth (e.g. huge countries such as China and India) and targeted for long-term investment.
  • Rest of the World (ROW) Markets – Markets that are often not included in a global marketing strategy because a company does not have sufficient time or resources to pay them any attention.

A typical company involved in global marketing is likely to have four or five core markets and maybe six to twelve emerging markets.

Is it Wise to Ignore the ROW?

Collectively the ROW consists of a huge market of over a billion people. Of course the ROW includes a lot of small countries, but even a country with only five to six million people (e.g. Denmark and Ireland) could be very profitable for the right product. Click here for a list of countries in order of population.

Which Languages Does the “Rest of the World” Speak?

The Web Globalization Report Card, which tracks the websites of 150 global companies, reports a steadily increasing number of languages supported by global content. As of 2018, the average number of languages supported by all 150 global websites is now thirty-two.

The Language Growth Curve

The success of global marketing can only be achieved through the use of local languages. If the growth in the number of languages is imagined as a curve, this curve begins quite steeply as companies load up on the core European and Asian languages. After a company reaches the level of twenty languages, the curve starts to taper off. The number of languages supported by a few companies, such as Facebook, Visa, and Dyson has shot up in sudden spikes. However, most companies are only in the early stages of this growth curve.

Which are the Most Important Languages

It would be a herculean task to utilize the more than 6,000 languages spoken worldwide, so a global marketing company has to narrow down its language choices to the languages spoken by its core target audiences. The following is a list of ten languages that are shared by leading global websites.

  • English – English is the language of globalization and is spoken by over 75% of the world’s population.
  • Chinese (Simplified) – If people in Chinese speaking markets continue to expand their internet usage, Chinese might one day supplant English as the most widely used internet language.
  • Arabic – The Arabic language is spoken by 295 million speakers worldwide, and is the official language of 28 different countries. A report from the British Council ranks Arabic as the second most important language of the future.
  • Spanish – There are a number of important Spanish speaking countries, not to mention that the Hispanic population in the US will likely double by 2050.
  • German – The German language is the fourth most spoken language in the world with nearly 210 million speakers worldwide.
  • Portuguese – Second behind Spanish in Latin America. Portuguese is spoken by 215 million people in Portugal, Brazil, and some parts of Africa.
  • French – French is the official language of over 29 countries throughout the world including several of the fastest growing African economies.
  • Japanese – Japanese has 130 million native speakers and a similar number of non-native speakers spread out over the world.
  • Russian – There are 160 million native speakers in Russia and throughout central and Eastern Europe.
  • Hindi – Although India is home to 126 million English speakers, around 85% of the population doesn’t speak English well or at all. India represents an enormous growing market.


If you are hoping to increase your global marketing reach, it’s essential to expand the number of languages your website or app supports. All countries, including the “rest of the world,” are within your reach. Once you have decided on your target markets, Localize will help you translate your content into the local languages. Talk to us for more information.

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