In the recent past, the key differentiator between brands was assumed to be price or product quality. Companies competed for customers by either lowering their prices or improving the quality of their products. But customer preferences are rapidly changing, and their expectations are rising. Customers have access to more information online than ever before, and smartphones and social media allow them to quickly and easily share their experiences with brands. Perhaps that is why artificial intelligence-driven customer experiences are quickly becoming a key brand differentiator.
To better understand this role artificial intelligence (AI) is playing in Americans’ lives relative to brand usage, The Weinheimer Group conducted a nationwide AI brand survey. Our survey takes a look at the more common forms of AI for brands – chatbots, smart home devices, and voice-activated services. We believe brands need gain a baseline understanding of customer attitudes towards artificial intelligence and then shape their customer experience strategy accordingly. Misunderstanding the way individuals feel about artificial intelligence could lead companies to make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the business or their customers. Conversely, brands that make good use of these insights can get an edge on their competition. The data and insights provided below was obtained through a survey of 1,002 US adults. The goal of the survey was to determine attitudes towards artificial intelligence. The survey was conducted October 2017 by a leading polling firm in the United States.
Insights into How Users View AI
Our survey found that smart home technology is most popular with the 18-34 age group, most commonly referred to as Millennials. 32% of Millennials use smart home technology daily, which makes sense seeing as younger people tend to be at the forefront of the adoption of new technology. One-third of daily smart home users have children in the household. Smart home technology has also become very well known throughout the country, with only 4% of respondents claiming that they are unfamiliar with this form of AI. But perhaps the most interesting finding about smart home technology is who isn’t using it. 63% of women say they never use smart home technology. That is in contrast to men – one-quarter of men use smart home technology each day. Brands looking to sell smart home technology should be aware of this disparity.
Young Parents Enjoy AI
Voice-activated service, or voice assistants, might be the best-known form of artificial intelligence on the market right now. Americans are aware of the technology and use it at a significant rate: 59% of Americans use voice assistants on occasion, with nearly half of them using it weekly or daily. Among those who are 18-34 years old – the Millennial demographic – 20% use voice assistants daily and 34% use it occasionally. Among those with children in the household, 21% use voice-activated service daily, 20% use it weekly, and 29% use it occasionally. These numbers show that Americans have had relatively high exposure to voice assistants and have begun to adopt the technology at fairly high rates. 59% of Americans already use voice assistants on occasion, a number that is expected to rise significantly in the coming years.
Another fact worth noting is that 53% of those satisfied with AI have children in the household. This is important for two reasons: first, those with children in the household tend to be relatively young adults, and second, children present an entirely new market for brands using artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence could be used by children in a multitude of different ways. For example, a child old enough to speak but too short to turn on a light could use voice-activated smart home technology to turn the light on. And of course, young children who become familiar with artificial intelligence growing up will be more likely to use the technology as they mature into adults. But perhaps the most predictable conclusion is the technology’s popularity among Millennials. Two-thirds of the 18-34 demographic report being satisfied with artificial intelligence. Younger demographics use the technology more and tend to be more familiar with it than older generations, which likely leads to higher levels of satisfaction. This means that brands that are looking to move AI into their strategy need to have Millennials as a key target demographic. 52% of the 18-34 demographic say that they will be likely to seek out brands that offer AI tools in the next year.
East/West Coasters Plan to Seek Out More AI in 2018
Other findings include that residents of the northeast and west are more likely to seek out and use artificial intelligence. Residents of the northeast and west coast have higher incomes on average, which supports the finding that 46% of those satisfied with AI have households with over $50,000 in annual income. This could mean that brands keying in on target demographics for AI need to focus their geographic range on specific regions of the country at this time. AI has had significant growth and adaption over the past several years, but it isn’t close to being a mature technology. AI will continue to grow and develop over the next several years as more brands adopt the technology and deploy it to improve the customer experience. Brands need to be aware of the findings from key AI research in order to maximize their investment in the technology. Companies looking to compete in the coming years must begin getting familiar and comfortable with these types of technologies.
If your brand is looking to utilize AI, it has to understand a few things. First, it has to take a look at how individuals use AI and learn their specific preferences. For example, a company that specializes in maternity clothing and wants to add a voice assistant to their app must gain a better understanding of why women are less likely to use AI and figure out a way to utilize AI so that it meets the preferences and expectations of their particular demographic. Brands that don’t understand the preferences of their target audience won’t be able to maximize the effectiveness of AI or create a gap between their company and their competitors.
Aim High with Your Use of AI
Businesses looking to get a leg up on the competition should definitely consider an investment in AI. But a brand’s deployment of AI must make sense with their overall strategy and identity. It must ultimately improve the customer experience and fundamentally make it easier and more enjoyable. If the customer experience isn’t improved – for example, as a result of a faulty chatbot that gives incorrect answers – the customer’s experience can actually take a hit. That is why brands need to make sure that the AI they deploy fits their vision and meets the needs of their customers. This is happening across industries as more brands turn to AI to help them solve their everyday problems.
To learn more about our AI Brand Research, check us out here!