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The latest dunnhumby Consumer Trends Tracker is out, focusing on what consumers want from AI.

Among the key conclusions:

  • One third of respondents do not trust AI at all … Only 20% ‘mostly’ or ‘completely’ trust AI … A comparatively higher 31% of consumers under the age of 45 trust AI.

•  Top concerns regarding AI are the impact on jobs, security/privacy/misinformation, and the loss of human touch/connection.

•  Within grocery, the most appealing uses of AI are security, budgeting, and personalized rewards and recommendations. 

•  Communicating the use of AI to reduce both out-of-stocks and excess inventory will resonate with younger shoppers and improve brand perception. 

The report's conclusion:

"The potential of Artificial Intelligence (good or bad) is almost limitless. Within grocery however, it is always crucial to consider the needs of the customer. In the same that way that price perception impacts where people shop, it the perception of AI, how and where it’s being used, that matters. To be more specific, it is the perception of shoppers under the age of 45 that really matters. This age cohort are more trusting of AI, more likely to engage, and if the application relates in any way to personal finances, they are the most in need. In another recent dunnhumby study, we have learned that under 45’s are the most vulnerable to rising prices and food insecurity as well.

"Underlying consumer trends in pricing, private brand, promotions, loyalty and sustainability align to the most appealing uses of AI, according to respondents. These include AI for budgeting, personalized rewards and recommendations, and forecasting, stock and waste management. It's useful to contrast these to less appealing uses such as driverless technology, chatbots and health/diet goals, which take many of the headlines.

"Implementing and communicating the use of AI to aid budgeting, personalization, and sustainability, will resonate with customers. Against a backdrop of financial difficulty and food insecurity, particularly for younger consumers, well-placed investment in AI can prove a genuine competitive advantage."

KC's View:

Regardless of the consumer demographic, I think that it will be important for businesses to be transparent about their uses of AI.  Tell the story.  Explain the utility and value to the shopper.  Make the case.