The global input method editor software market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.01% during the forecast period, 2019–2026.
A study suggests that the total number of mobile users would reach 5 billion by 2025, equivalent to 71% of the world’s population. Mobile devices are capable of performing a plethora of tasks regardless of geographical barriers, such as ordering food and playing online and offline games.
With the increasing prevalence of social media across the globe, users are relying on IME tools to type in their regional language across Facebook, WhatsApp, blogs, MS Word, and many other platforms. The software enables people to access technology in their regional language. Thus, noteworthy players are developing devices with inbuilt software accessible by individuals, including people with disabilities.
By type, Windows holds a prominent share of the input method editor market. The software was primarily designed for Microsoft Windows and later adopted by other operating systems. The penetration of the Windows Operating System is extensive across multiple devices, and it is the most used operating system globally. With the growing adoption of the Windows Operating System, the demand for Window IME software is also increasing.
Today, various versions of Windows Operating System are available, including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, among others. Each of these is equipped with the free Microsoft IME. As most users prefer English language, foreign languages are hidden but can be activated within a few steps. In June 2019, Microsoft released an update for Windows 10 with an integrated IME, which nullifies the need to download and install external tools for IME. Apart from Microsoft, various other companies such as Baidu are providing IME software for Windows Operating System.
Smartphones and tablets use IME software for keyboards, handwriting, voice input, and many other applications. Using input method editor, smartphone and tablet users can easily switch between English and their regional language input. Additionally, the software is capable of anticipating users’ search intentions in real-time and allows users to search directly through the embedded search function. Smartphones and tablets have small keyboards with limited computing power; therefore, separate software tools are offered for smartphones and tablets. Along with an inbuilt IME provided by smartphone manufacturers, there are various multilingual keypad apps available for smartphones and tablets. These apps can be utilized as an IME on smartphone devices.
According to StatCounter, in 2018, mobiles accounted for a larger market share than desktops and tablets. The usage of input editor method software in smartphones, desktops, and laptops is exponentially increasing. For instance, in December 2018, Sogou Mobile Keyboard had 426 million mobile DAUs (number of active users per day) and processed up to 540 million daily voice requests.
With the rising penetration of smartphones, Android is expected to lead the North America IME software market by application. Smartphone penetration stood at 70% in the U.S. as of 2018 and is expected to thrive in the future. The presence of technology giants such as Google and Microsoft also contributes to market growth in the region.
Europe is the second-largest market for IME software globally, wherein growth is primarily driven by privacy search engines such as Qwant. Qwant maintains the user’s privacy as it does not attempt to show behavioral ads or track users’ data. Additionally, it is also gaining official support from the French army and parliament, who showed an interest in dropping google and using Qwant as their default search engine.
According to Ethnologue, around 1.2 billion people, constituting 16% of the world’s population, speak Chinese as their native language, and written Chinese comprises around 4,000 words. Therefore, the demand for input method editor software for Chinese is higher as compared to other Asian languages. The demand for Pinyin IME is higher in Mainland China and Singapore as people use simplified Chinese characters in these regions. Taiwan and Hongkong are accustomed to traditional Chinese characters and prefer Bopomofo and other IME editors based on character shapes.
Some of the prominent players in the global IME software market are
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