Indian brands will lead the next wave of global customer experience innovation as consumers become aware of new technologies, and deeply explore virtual and immersive environments, according to new research from Adobe. To help fuel this experience transformation, marketers and consumers alike are eager to embrace artificial intelligence (AI), especially generative AI.
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.
According to Adobe’s Future of Digital Experiences Report, 53% of Indian consumers and 69% APAC consumers shop in physical stores today – but that percentage will drop to 44% and 40% respectively in two years. This shift will be more prominent in APAC than in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as consumers expect brands to expand their digital experiences into new formats. Majority of Indian (96%) and APAC (91%) consumers expect to view videos of products before purchase and nearly 91% Indian consumers and 74% in APAC want brands to provide new ways to engage in immersive and virtual worlds.
Today, Indian 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 (88%)
- Offering digital tokens to trade for virtual and physical products (85%)
- Virtual/immersive events (87%)
- VIP access to virtual influencers and celebrities (86%).
“At Adobe, we firmly believe that Technology is the co-pilot to creativity. Today, marketers are the early adopters of cutting-edge technologies like Gen AI, leveraging its power to push boundaries and create remarkable experiences. By blending technology and creativity, we can unlock new possibilities, augmenting marketers' work and drive monetization. Looking forward to a future where creativity and technology converge to inspire and connect with audiences,” said Anindita Veluri, Marketing Director, Adobe India.
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 – 82%of Indian consumers say their expectations are heightened by a worsening economic climate. 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.
Brands and consumers see Generative AI’s enormous potential
As expectations escalate, Indian marketing and customer experience professionals are already relying on artificial intelligence (AI): Nearly 60% say AI is helpful in their work, with 21% calling AI ‘a miracle’. Marketing and customer experience professionals are even more optimistic regarding emerging generative AI technologies – nine out of ten respondents anticipate that generative AI will help increase their work product quality and volume (95%), enhance their creativity (96%), and help reach more of the right customers (96%). Strong majorities also believe that generative AI will help better personalise customer experiences (94%), as well as identify new audiences and customer journeys (95%).
Zankhana Srivastava, Vice President and Lead, Digital Cross Sell, ICICI Securities, says, "Today, a customer's Digital journey has truly taken centre-stage, focusing on seamless, personalized, and convenient experiences at every touchpoint. To meet these expectations, the financial services industry is leveraging emerging technologies to deliver delight across the board to the modern customer. These innovative solutions are not only enhancing customer experiences but also optimizing the overall value chain. By harnessing the power of AI and ML algorithms, brands can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences, allowing them to create hyper-personalized offerings and provide targeted recommendations. This strategic utilization of emerging technologies enables brands to understand their customers better, anticipate their needs, and foster deeper connections, solidifying their position in the competitive market."
Indian consumers also recognise the potential for generative AI to transform their brand interactions. Five in six (93%) say it will enhance the customer experience; 93% believe it can improve product quality. Consumers are excited for brands to use generative AI to help them find things online (31%), make experiences more relevant and helpful (32%), and enhance the creativity of content they engage with (26%).
India, Southeast Asia consumers at forefront of demand for new digital experiences. The research reveals diverse perspectives across the range of APAC countries. Consumers and marketers in India, 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, 70% in Malaysia and 66% in Singapore, 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, 87% in Singapore and Thailand and 83% in Malaysia expect new ways for brands to engage in virtual or immersive worlds. The same is true for 62% of Australians and 59% of New Zealanders, 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 Thailand (94%) and India (93%), over 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 (60% and 67% respectively).