Take a casual stroll through your social media feed and you’ll realize there are fewer words and more cute little faces, dancing girls or even your neighborhood aunty’s caricature asking you if you’re getting married anytime soon.
So how big are these stickers exactly? Well, ‘Face With Tears of Joy’ emoji was Oxford Dictionary’s 2015 Word of the Year! We’re in the midst of a visual communication revolution, with them going mainstream on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Did you know that more than 6 billion emojis are sent every single day?
Stickers and emojis are no longer frivolous things used only by teenagers to lazy to type out words. It’s now a thriving, billion-dollar industry. Chat applications such as Line have amassed large sums of money just from stickers. Closer home, social messaging platform Hike also relies on stickers as a medium of communication.
So, how did stickers suddenly overtake the chat market? With data becoming cheaper and more accessible every day, online communication has now become the norm, instead of an exception. Whether it’s the workplace or at home, more and more people are joining the chat bandwagon to express. Emojis and stickers act as a quick way to communicate the tone and the context of our conversation, alongside the text, or sometimes even without it. For instance, how else would you convey sarcasm through your text unless you include an emoji or sticker that juxtaposes with what you’ve written? The possibilities of conversation then become limitless.
In a diverse country like India, stickers also push the case for more localized content, thus helping companies penetrate newer regions. There are 22 major languages in India, written in 13 different scripts, with over 720 dialects! For the speakers of native languages, communication through stickers becomes more expressive and contextual. Hike, for instance, has a library of stickers that cater to a host of languages such as Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, and so on. For Line, its string of successes can also be attributed to culture-specific stickers that it has unveiled in different countries like Spain and Japan.
Many of these companies also co-brand their stickers for more localised context. Some include famous characters from the entertainment industry, while others have sticker content specific to certain festivals or important days. For every market, localised content just takes communication to the next level, thus aiding the growth of the sticker industry.
Stickers are a great way to enhance a brand’s emotional appeal and chat apps that ride on this tide now are going to profit immensely in the near future.