“The beauty and personal care industry aside, steps taken to encourage the adoption of machine learning and AI among consumers could be applied across categories,” shared Delon Wang, Trends Manager, APAC, at Mintel.
Trust is a huge factor. “While smart technology has shown that it is able to meet demand, consumers are still bound to feel a certain level of distrust in this day and age,” stated Wang.
Safety and privacy online
According to Mintel research, nearly seven in ten Chinese consumers are concerned about the safety of personal information online: “Simply put, trust can be won by showing them the benefits of AI and machine learning, as well as through transparency.”
As the market develops, privacy information and issues will emerge as a challenge: “Privacy issues will always be a topic of discussion as technology progresses into the future," noted Wang.
“Consumers will generally prefer opt-in choices and are likely to embrace machine learning if it makes their lives easier. The added customisation element of smart technology affords consumers greater comfort and a sense of luxury to their lifestyles.”
According to Mintel research, two in five Chinese adults aged 20-49 say they are interested in products that can be customised based on their needs. Smart technology not only provides convenience but enables consumers to take control of their lives.
Providing a unique answer
“As the desire for a seamless lifestyle becomes universal, we will see more aspects of life being incorporated into machine learning capabilities,” Wang added.
“Supporting consumers' increasing desire for individuality and autonomy, we will see more personalised services and customised products made available through AI and machine learning in the months and years to come.”
Along with convenience and comfort, personalisation is a fundamental driver in the uptake of machine learning and AI-based technology. Brands are able to learn about individual personality traits and preferences that then enable them to create bespoke experiences, minus a lengthy and manual information-inputting process.
Data collection and disposal will need to be transparent to overcome consumer concerns relating to privacy issues.
Mintel research identifies 46% of consumers as interested in learning about their household habits, suggesting that they appreciate the power of technology in monitoring, analysing and reporting.
Chinese startup Snail Sleep has developed a high-tech pillow that can be connected with smartphones via Bluetooth to play relaxing music. This is designed to offer the practical function of helping users fall asleep, as well as adding a sense of luxury to their lifestyle.
In 2017, Alibaba and Mattel entered into a strategic partnership to allow Mattel to use Alibaba’s data and insights to identify consumer purchasing patterns. Once obtained, these products can then be customised in accordance with consumer choices.
Specific markets are demonstrating the power of machine learning and AI, and the Asia-Pacific region is a leading one: “APAC as a whole will be a strong seeding ground as more research and development is emphasised.”
Looking within the APAC region, China is a “key market to watch”, with South Korea and Japan also set to become core markets.