UK consumers still in the dark on AI

Almost a third of UK customers are willing to share more personal data to improve their shopping experience, although they are less willing to hand it over than their European counterparts.

Experience personalisation firm RichRelevance surveyed 2,577 respondents across the UK, France and Germany, finding that 32 per cent of UK customers are unwilling to hand over more data to retailers, compared with 31 per cent in France and 25 per cent in Germany.

Such privacy fears could be based on a lack of understanding, as only a quarter of UK consumers signaled they are familiar with artificial intelligence – in comparison to 37 per cent in France and 67 per cent in Germany.

However, a further 38 per cent of Brits would be willing to share more data, if it was collected anonymously – referring to the ability to collect data without explicitly linking to an individual.

The research also revealed that previously trendy technologies, such as using fingerprints for payments (down 6 per cent to 50 per cent) or interactive mirrors (down 8.5 per cent to 35.5 per cent), experienced a decline in popularity compared to 2017.

Instead, newer technologies, such as voice search (climbing to 46 per cent) and virtual reality (up to 40.5 per cent) gained the biggest increase in interest with UK customers.

Scepticism remained high around the use of facial recognition software, but it was emotion detection technology, a new entry for the 2018 survey, which went straight to the top of this year’s ‘creepy’ list.

Henrik Nambord, vice president for EMEA sales at RichRelevance, explained that the technologies which customers have branded ‘cool’ are those that increase convenience or improve the customer experience, online and offline, with an appropriate trade-off against their privacy.

“However, it is clear that UK consumers still do not fully understand AI,” he continued. “As such, not only do retailers need to be transparent about how they use AI, but also emphasise its benefits – primarily its ability to make the customer shopping experience more memorable than ever before.”

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