APAC brands embrace AI as customer expectations rise

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APAC marketers and consumers alike are eager to embrace artificial intelligence (AI), especially generative AI, according to new research from Adobe. Asia-Pacific (APAC) brands will lead the next wave of global customer experience innovation as consumers become aware of new technologies and more deeply explore virtual and immersive environments.

The global survey of 13,000 consumers and 4,250 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.

APAC consumers take to online shopping

According to Adobe’s Future of Digital Experiences Report, 58% of APAC consumers will choose an online shopping destination as their channel of choice within two years, far more than in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. They also expect brands to expand their digital experiences into new formats. Four-fifths (82%) of APAC consumers expect to view products through virtual or augmented reality, and nearly three in four (74%) want brands to provide new ways to engage in immersive and virtual worlds.  

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

  • The ability to build virtual products and convert them into physical items (77%)
  • Offering digital tokens to trade for virtual and physical products (76%)
  • Virtual/immersive events (75%)
  • VIP access to virtual influencers and celebrities (75%).

Expectations rise in the current climate

While the future is exciting, the current economic environment is putting pressure on brands to up-level their customer experiences: Three-fifths (61%) of APAC consumers say a worsening economic climate heightens their expectations. This is particularly true for younger consumers, where 70% of APAC Gen Zs say their expectations are higher in a down economy compared to 65% globally. APAC consumers also place an outsized premium on trust in a challenging economy, ranking it ahead of price and selection, with younger consumers feeling even more strongly. 

“Consumers across APAC have high expectations for brands, and this is only increasing as economic challenges grow,” said Duncan Egan, Vice President Digital Experience Marketing Asia Pacific and Japan, Adobe. “APAC marketers recognise this and are staying ahead of the digital curve by earmarking investments for emerging technologies. This is helping them realise the potential of generative AI to create more relevant, personalised, and creative experiences, ultimately driving efficiency and speed to delivery.”

Brands and consumers see enormous potential of Generative AI

As expectations escalate, APAC marketing and customer experience professionals are already relying on artificial intelligence (AI): 60% say AI is helpful in their work, with 16% calling AI “a miracle”.  Marketing and customer experience professionals are even more optimistic regarding emerging generative AI technologies – nine in ten respondents anticipate generative AI will help increase their work quality and volume (93%), enhance their creativity (91%), and help reach more of the right customers (91%). Strong majorities also believe generative AI will help better personalise customer experiences (89%) and identify new audiences and customer journeys (90%).

APAC consumers also recognise the potential for generative AI to transform their brand interactions. Five in six (85%) say it will enhance the customer experience; 87% believe it can improve product quality. Consumers are excited for brands to use generative AI to help them find things online (34%), make experiences more relevant and helpful (31%), and enhance the creativity of content they engage with (27%). 

India, Southeast Asia consumers are at the forefront of demand for new digital experiences 

The research reveals diverse perspectives across the range of APAC countries. Consumers and marketers in India and Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) are generally more active in embracing new digital experience formats, environments, and tools than in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

This includes 81% of consumers in India who expect more personalised and relevant digital experiences, given the data and technologies brands can access. These numbers contrast with 32% of consumers in Australia and New Zealand and 13% in Japan.

These numbers parallel national consumer expectations that brands will offer new and innovative experiences. For example, 91% of Indian consumers and 86% in Southeast Asia expect new ways for brands to engage in virtual or immersive worlds. The same is true for 60% of consumers in Australia and New Zealand, compared with just 48% in Japan.

Similar variations are seen when it comes to the perceived potential of generative AI to enhance customer experiences or products. In India (93%) and Southeast Asia (89%), around nine-in-ten 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 (63%).

Adobe’s Future of Digital Experiences Report is a global survey produced in partnership with Advanis, examining digital experiences across multiple dimensions, including the digital economy, experience frontiers (channels and content), and generative AI.

To download the full Adobe Future of Digital Experiences Report 2023 report, click here.

Related article: 73% of consumers trust content created by generative AI

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