Last Updated: 2018-03-14
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KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (NNN-Bernama-Globe Newswire) -- Interest in automated devices like robots is strongest amongst consumers in emerging economies including China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand -- but demand is generally lower in developed countries.

Thirty-two per cent of consumers surveyed globally by PwC plan to buy an artificial intelligence (AI) device including robots or automated assistants, with retailers watching closely as ‘voice commerce’ develops in the home.

The findings are published in PwC’s Global Consumer Insights survey, which assesses the shopping behaviour, habits and expectations of over 22,000 consumers in 27 countries.

The study reports that 10 per cent of respondents already own AI devices, such as robots and automated personal assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home, and 32 per cent said they planned to buy one.

PwC found that across all markets, early adopters of AI devices tend to be men, aged 18-34, who are open to collaborative consumption, less likely to take action to reduce the risk of online security issues and fraud, and less price conscious.

“AI is moving very rapidly into the consumer and retail sectors. Within two to three years AI could revolutionise how companies profile, segment and serve customers,” said Global Consumer Markets leader of PwC, John Maxwell said in a statement.

The report also highlights mobile devices gaining traction with global shoppers. Mobile purchasing has more than doubled in six years to 17 per cent of all shopping, and is likely to soon overtake computer purchases (20 per cent).

Convenience is also playing a part, with half of all respondents using smartphones to pay for purchases in store.

E-commerce continues to dominate – 59 per cent of consumers are shopping with online retailers, which has transformed shoppers’ expectations about shipments.

Despite the dominance of the big online retailers, there is still room for physical stores to thrive, whereby for the fourth year in a row, the number of respondents who say they shop at a bricks and mortar store on a weekly basis has risen, this year by three per cent to 44 per cent.

Both online and in-store, social networks remain the biggest influence on consumers looking for inspiration for purchases, despite consumers reporting a small dip in their influence (from 39 per cent to 37 per cent).

Social networks’ influence is highest in the Middle East (70 per cent) Indonesia (58 per cent), Malaysia (58 per cent) and China (52 per cent).

The annual survey also finds encouraging news about consumer confidence despite concerns about depressed spending and investing.

Globally, the majority of consumers surveyed plan to spend the same or more as they did last year, with 38 per cent maintaining the same spending as last year, and 37 per cent planning to spend more.