Much-maligned chatbots are not about to go away anytime real soon, suggests new research.
Consumer retail spend via chatbots is likely to reach US$142 billion within four years, according to the Juniper Research report, “Chatbots: Vendor Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2020-2024”. It revealed that the industry can expect an average annual growth of 400 per cent from last year’s total of just $2.8 billion as a result of software advances in natural language processing, which enable the bots to efficiently process human inputs and more accurately respond to user requests.
That argument is backed by a senior Microsoft executive, Raj Raguneethan, regional business lead, retail and consumer goods, at Microsoft Asia, who told Inside Retail Asia recently that while the early generation of chatbots may have had their day the concept is not yet dead. He said while the standard chatbot “question-and-order queue format” is gone, advanced deployments of chatbot which can fully integrate into the whole call-centre back office and all the way online will take their place.
According to the Juniper report, technological advances in the software will see more than 50 per cent of retail chatbot interactions completed successfully by 2024, without the need for human intervention. Eighty per cent of global consumer spend over chatbots will be attributable to discrete chatbots within this period, which are embedded directly into a retailer’s mobile app rather than accessed via a browser or messaging application.
The research suggests that 70 per cent of chatbots in 2024 will be attributable to the Far East and China, with more than $80 billion spent via chatbots in China. This will account for more than 55 per cent of global chatbot spend in that year.