Digital Transformation

Majority of consumers ready to embrace AI assistants, says study


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

January 4, 2017 | 4 min read

Consumers are ready for artificial intelligence to take a central role in their lives, with over half of shoppers saying they would use AI-powered personal assistants.

Accenture's Digital Consumer Survey, which has been released just as the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) prepares to get underway in Las Vegas, found that young millennials in particular are leading this adoption. More than four in five (84%) of 14 to 17-year olds said they currently use digital voice-enabled assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Accenture's survey was conducted online at the end of last year and received responses from around 26,000 consumers in 26 countries including Australia, Canada, the US, Japan and the UK.


Majority of consumers ready to embrace AI assistants, says study

For the first time, the annual survey polled consumers about their intentions to buy digital assistants, and while only 4% said they currently owned such a device, 65% of owners said they use their product on a regular basis, showing strong acceptance of the new technology.

However, despite the acceptance of machine learning concerns around personal data are still widespread with just over a third of people saying they trusted tech manufacturers, and only 13% saying they had confidence in search engine providers when it came to private information.

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"The 'insecurity of things' is a major industry challenge,” said David Sovie, global managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech business. "There are widespread consumer concerns about the privacy of their personal data being stolen or compromised. And relative to the value delivered, prices of these connected devices remain too high. Market momentum for these devices will stall unless the industry overcomes these obstacles. If that happens, market demand could accelerate quickly."

Finally, the study revealed that after dropping to a three-year low last year consumer purchases of smartphones are expected to bounce back this year. Over half of those questioned said they planned to buy a smartphone in the next year.

Chinese shoppers were the key growth drivers of this upturn with 74% claiming they intended to buy such a device over the next 12 months. The report states that this rebound to the market has been fueled by better security, new functions, improved performance and device refresh schedules.

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