Consumer retail spend over chatbots will reach $142 billion by 2024; rising from $2.8 billion in 2019. This represents average annual growth of 400 per cent over the next four years, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The research identified the retail sector as a key beneficiary of advances in NLU (Natural Language Understanding) technologies. It forecast that NLU would be essential in providing a seamless retail experience for users and to establish chatbots as a reliable retail channel as it enables chatbots to efficiently process human inputs and produce more accurate automated responses to users.

The new research, Chatbots: Vendor Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2020-2024, forecasts that advances in NLU capabilities will drive the effectiveness of chatbots. It anticipates that over 50 per cent of retail chatbot interactions will be completed successfully by 2024, without the need for human intervention.

As a result, the research urges retailers to implement chatbots as part of a wider omnichannel retail strategy in order to maximise their presence on a number of key retail channels.

Additionally, the research found that 80 per cent of global consumer spend over chatbots will be attributable to discrete chatbots by 2024. These are embedded directly into a retailer’s mobile app, rather than accessed via a browser or messaging application.

The research anticipates that control over development and the ability to retain company branding will drive discrete chatbots to become the most popular chatbot medium in retail.

The report also forecast 70 per cent of the global number of chatbots accessed by 2024 would be attributable to Far East & China. Furthermore, over $80 billion will be spent via chatbots in China in 2024; accounting for over 55 per cent of global chatbot spend in that year.

The research, however, highlighted that this will still only be around 4 per cent of total mobile and online spend on digital and physical goods in the region.

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