AI coming to a device (or store) near you

PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018

In this year PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey, the artificial intelligence (AI) story is all about potential:

  • While just 10% of respondents said they currently own AI devices, nearly one in three said they plan to buy an AI device.
  • For those who own one, 18% said they spend more on shopping.
  • One in five of our Chinese respondents told us they own an AI device.

In some ways, AI is the future of retail

A fully 45% of store operators say they plan to increase their use of AI within the next three years. This isn’t surprising given the range of capabilities AI can bring, from improving customer engagement to gathering customer insights from social media. And while 58% of our respondents told us they have no interest in an Amazon Echo or Google Home, that percentage was far smaller in some emerging economies.  

What kinds of consumers are most likely already using AI?

In a phrase, optimistic with high expectations. We looked at our data several different ways to come up with a profile of an early adopter AI user. They are men, age 18-34, positive about both the economy and their personal spend, preferring mobile payment, open to collaborative consumption and buying in bulk. And where do those high expectations come in? Twenty-five percent of them expect same-day delivery of products on regular basis. 

AI – a global phenomenon

The young, educated, and tech-savvy population of Brazil stands out as the market having the greatest upside potential, with 59% of our respondents looking forward to buying a device.

A general preference for voice interaction and lower levels of concern about online privacy leaves many Asian nations not far behind. In China, more than half (52%) plan to buy one. The story is similar in Vietnam (19% own, 45% plan to), Indonesia (18% own, 49% plan to), and Thailand (15% own, 44% plan to). 

A slew of next-generations technologies powered by AI are about to descend

From smart refrigerators equipped with a touchscreen to monitor an entire connected home, to apps that use augmented reality to let customers virtually try on clothes and make-up, we’re just at the nascent stages of a revolution in consumer convenience. And consumers seems ready to do things differently -- almost 40% of our survey respondents would consider a drone as a delivery method.  

Contact us

John G. Maxwell

Global Consumer Markets Leader, Partner, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (646) 471 3728

Oz Ozturk

Global Advisory Consumer Markets Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7703 563 054

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