Unbabel’s 2021 Global Multilingual CX Survey Reveals 68% of Consumers Prefer to Speak with Brands in Their Native Language

Survey results show how language impacts trust and business growth potential: One in four Consumers would not spend more than $500 if brands do not offer proper language support

Unbabel, an AI-powered Language Operations platform that helps businesses deliver multilingual support at scale, today announced the findings from its 2021 Global Multilingual CX Report. The survey shows that how speaking in a customer’s native language thrusts businesses ahead of their competitors by building trust, empathy, confidence, and promoting business growth—proving that multilingual communication is vital to business success when it comes to customer communication.

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Trust and loyalty are at stake.

The results show that global brands striving to reach consumers in new markets need to commit to offering localized experiences. Consumers value multilingual customer experiences and native-language support enough to switch to brands that offer them, the findings show. Other key revelations include:

  • Without their native language, customers will leave: 68% of consumers would switch to a different brand that offers support in their native language.
  • Bias impacts consumer confidence: 57% of consumers consider it a bias when brands don’t offer end-to-end multilingual experiences to their customers.
  • People will pay to communicate in their native language:
    • 75% of surveyed US consumers said that they would only spend up to $500 with brands that do not offer native-language customer support.1
    • 64% said they’d pay a higher price for a product or service if a brand offers a customer experience in their native language.

“The findings from our 2021 Multilingual Customer Experience Survey prove that multilingual experiences impact customer trust in brands—and it is reflected in their willingness to switch brands for it and pay more,” said Vasco Pedro, co-founder and CEO at Unbabel. “Respondents believe that less than 50% of brands offer multilingual experiences—that’s a huge gap language operations technology can solve.”

Why Native Language Matters

Native language gives consumers feelings of confidence, empathy and incentive to buy with brands. When asked about why consumers care about businesses speaking to them in their native language consumers said:

  • Native language helps consumers relate to the brand (44%),
  • Native language makes consumers feel more confident communicating with that brand (29%)—all of which affect whether consumers buy a product or service.

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Language in Marketing

Diversity, inclusion, and representation are no longer “nice-to-haves.” Consumers want to feel represented in brand communication. The data showed that the language businesses use to promote products matters: 71% of the consumers surveyed said they believe that it’s important that a brand promotes and supports their products and services in their native language.

Generational Data

Data around consumer trust and preferences varied by age group globally. Some of the key generational findings are below:

  • Gen Z and Millennials support more international businesses than Gen X and Boomers. Gen Z and Millennials said that 48% of brands they buy from are outside of their native country while 44% of Gen Xers and 39% of Boomers said the same.
  • How you communicate matters: 63% of Boomers, 59% of Gen X, and 50% of Millennials prefer customer service support over email, while 45% of Gen Z prefer social media, phone or in-store, over email.