Digital shopping assistants are coming in a big way.
At least that’s the viewpoint of urban early adopters in key cities around the world.
The majority (63%) of smartphone shoppers believe that everyone will have their own personal digital assistant to advise them on their shopping needs within three years, according to the study by Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab.
The study comprised a survey of 5,000 advanced internet users in San Francisco, London, New York, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Moscow, São Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo. Survey respondents were aged 15 to 69 and fit the profile of urban early adopters, not necessarily representative of the overall population.
In their view, smart home speakers are front and center in future shopping, with 63% seeing them as having a role in managing price comparisons. The second most desired function for digital assistants is the handling of refunds and returns.
The majority (68%) see digital assistants helping receive deliveries when not at home becoming mainstream in three years, with 44% wanting it now.
Of those surveyed, nearly half (45%) use digital voice assistants on a weekly basis and more than a third (35%) use virtual or augmented reality at least once a week.
The markets are different. For example, more than half in Shanghai think VR and AR will be used for clothes shopping, compared to only one fifth of those in Tokyo and San Francisco.
Overall, 64% of VR and AR users think that within three years almost all shopping will take place through the smartphone and that physical stores will disappear, which is quite counter to mass market consumer studies.
The challenge for retailers and sellers is that digital shipping advisors, such as a home restocking assistant, may become the real customer rather than the end consumer, since the AI-based assistant becomes the ordering or purchasing agent for the home.
With the massive growth of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, shopping while walking around the kitchen or sitting in the living room will be as simple as saying something.The assistant will always be listening.