Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Marketers implementing AI as consumer expectations rise

Marketers are looking to artificial intelligence (AI), especially generative AI, to meet the rising expectations of Australian and New Zealand consumers, according to Adobe research.

The global survey of 13,000 consumers and 4250 marketing and customer experience professionals outlines the broad impact of breakthrough technologies on consumers and businesses, highlighting new frontiers for living, working and shopping online.

According to Adobe’s Future of Digital Experiences Report, 87% of the ANZ consumers surveyed shop in physical stores today. This percentage will, however, drop to 66% in two years.

The shift will be more prominent in the Asia Pacific region overall, dropping to just 40%, lower than the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Consumers expect brands to expand their digital experiences into new formats with over two-thirds (70%) of ANZ respondents wanting to view products through virtual or augmented reality, and 60% wanting to engage with brands in immersive and virtual worlds.

Today, ANZ brands are planning to respond with new and innovative digital experiences such as:

  • Virtual/immersive events (67%)
  • The ability to build virtual products and convert them into physical items (67%)
  • VIP access to virtual influencers and celebrities (65%)
  • Offering digital tokens to trade for virtual and physical products (63%)

Expectations rise in the current climate

Almost half (44%) of the ANZ consumers surveyed say their expectations are heightened by a worsening economic climate.

This is particularly true for ANZ Gen Z and millennials, where 50% say their expectations are higher in a down economy.

ANZ consumers also place an outsized premium on trust and price in a challenging economy.

Using AI

Almost half (46%) of the surveyed professionals say AI is helpful in their work, with 12% calling AI “a miracle”.

Marketing and customer experience professionals are even more optimistic regarding emerging generative AI technologies. Eight out of 10 respondents anticipate generative AI will help increase their work product quality and volume (85%), enhance their creativity (82%), and help reach more of the right customers (85%).

Strong majorities also believe generative AI will help better personalise customer experiences (85%), as well as identifying new audiences and customer journeys (88%).

ANZ consumers recognise the potential for generative AI to transform their brand interactions, too.

Almost two thirds (63%) of the respondents say it will enhance the customer experience and 66% believe it can improve product quality.

Consumers are excited for brands to use generative AI, as long as they do so responsibly.

When asked how a company should use generative, 37% of the surveyed consumers prioritised ethical considerations, while 47% prioritised actions that would improve their customer and employee experiences. Only 16% said companies should not use generative AI at all.

APAC at the forefront

The research revealed diverse perspectives across the range of APAC countries.

Consumers and marketers in India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand are generally more active in embracing new digital experience formats, environments, and tools than in Australia, NZ and Japan.

This includes 81% of the surveyed consumers in India, 70% in Malaysia and 66% in Singapore, who expect more personalised and relevant digital experiences, given the data and technologies brands can access. These numbers significantly contrast with 32% of consumers in Australia and NZ, and just 13% in Japan.

These numbers parallel national consumer expectations that brands will offer new and innovative experiences. For example, 91% of the Indian consumers surveyed, 87% in Singapore and Thailand and 83% in Malaysia expect new ways for brands to engage in virtual or immersive worlds. The same is true for 62% of Australians and 59% of New Zealanders, compared with 48% in Japan.

Similar variations are seen when it comes to the perceived potential of generative AI to enhance customer experiences or products. In Thailand (94%) and India (93%), over nine in 10 surveyed consumers believe generative AI can improve customer experiences and product quality. In Australia and New Zealand, the numbers are in the six in ten range (60% and 67% respectively).

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