Irish Shoppers have mixed feelings towards AI in retail
In a recent survey conducted by Accenture in Ireland, it has become evident that Irish consumers have a cautious approach towards the implementation of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in retail spaces. While AI technology continues to advance, its acceptance among shoppers varies significantly, especially when it comes to personalization of shopping experiences.
Varied reactions to AI personalization
The research, which involved more than 1,000 Irish consumers, uncovered that a substantial 70 percent of participants are aware of generative AI. However, only 16 percent expressed excitement about its application in online and in-store retail environments. This hesitancy becomes more pronounced when AI is used for more personal applications, such as suggesting personalized item recommendations based on previous purchases or providing virtual try-on services.
Interestingly, there is a notable age-related disparity in attitudes towards AI. The survey indicates that only 5 percent of consumers over 55 years are enthusiastic about AI in retail, compared to 25 percent of the 18–24-year-old demographic and 12 percent of those aged 35–44. This generational divide highlights the varying degrees of comfort and trust in technology across different age groups.
Despite reservations, Irish shoppers appear more receptive to AI applications that offer tangible benefits like time or cost savings. Approximately 63 percent of respondents would welcome AI-based recommendations for products within their budget. Similarly, 60 percent are open to receiving gift suggestions tailored to their recipient list, and 56 percent would consider AI suggestions for complementary products.
Denis Hannigan, data and AI lead at Accenture in Ireland, commented on the findings. “Generative AI has the potential to be a real game-changer in retail, transforming the way businesses and consumers interact. While there’s some apprehension among consumers, there’s also an appetite for generative AI when it saves time, money, or hassle,” he stated.
European Union’s regulatory framework
This survey comes at a time when the European Parliament and European Council have agreed upon harmonized rules governing AI’s application across the European Union. These regulations focus on protecting the fundamental rights of citizens and ensuring ethical usage of AI technologies.
The new EU regulations might influence how AI is implemented in the retail sector, potentially addressing some of the concerns highlighted by Irish consumers. With these rules, there could be a more structured and secure environment for the deployment of AI in retail, possibly increasing consumer trust and acceptance.
The Accenture survey sheds light on the complex relationsonship Irish consumers have with AI in the retail sector. While there is an evident wariness about AI’s role in personalizing shopping experiences, there is also a recognition of the potential benefits it can bring in terms of convenience and cost savings. The evolving regulatory landscape in the EU regarding AI might further shape consumer attitudes and the adoption of AI in retail. As generative AI continues to develop, its acceptance and integration into everyday shopping experiences will likely be a gradual process, influenced by factors such as age, perceived benefits, and regulatory frameworks.