The first chatbot (Eliza) dates to 1966, which makes it older than the Internet. Yet the technology had to wait a bit to flourish at scale. It was not until 2016 that Facebook allowed developers to place chatbots on Messenger. Then the chatbot buzz began. Brands started to develop their AI chatbots, and customers were eagerly testing them curious what they could bring about. However, the data shows that the chatbot buzz has subsided a bit. Plenty of brands incorporated chatbots into their services to balance support operations and lower their costs. It seems that over the past few years, customers have got used to chatbots.
Below I gathered a couple of facts and numbers that show how the chatbot usage evolved in the past few years and statistics worth watching in 2021. Let’s jump in!
1. Consumer preferences
Research shows that customers have already developed their preferences for chatbots. Consumers eagerly turn to them for handling minor issues. They don’t mind if they are served by a chatbot as long as they can quickly solve their problems.
- Compared to 2018, in 2019 twice as many consumers were willing to engage with chatbots because they were "very helpful." (Forbes)
- 74% of users prefer chatbots while looking for answers to simple questions. (PSFK)
- 65% of consumers feel comfortable handling an issue without a human agent. (Adweek)
- 69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots because they deliver quick answers to simple questions. (Salesforce)
- 40% of buyers don’t care if they are served by a bot or a human agent, as long as they get the support they need. (HubSpot)
- 48% of users prefer to interact with a chatbot that solves issues over a chatbot that has a personality. (Business Insider)
- 82% of consumers claim that instant responses to their questions are very important when contacting brands. (Business 2 Community)
- 64% of consumers claim that 24⁄7 service is the most useful chatbot functionality. (The Chatbot)
- 23% of consumers still prefer to have a face-to-face interaction when the complexity of the issue increases, such as with payment disputes or complaints. (American Express)
2. ChatBot usage & stats
Chatbots are especially popular among younger generations. Millennials like to handle support issues on their own, and chatbots turn out to be the perfect solution. More and more companies, including market leaders such as LinkedIn and Starbucks, are incorporating smart assistants into their customer support strategy.
- 60% of millennials say they have used chatbots. 70% of them say they had a positive experience. (Forbes)
- Virtual customer assistants help organizations reduce by 70% call, chat and email inquiries. (Gartner)
- 57% of executives said that chatbots bring significant ROI with minimal effort. (Accenture)
- 90% of businesses report recording large improvements in the speed of complaint resolution. (MIT Technology Review)
- Giants such as LinkedIn, Starbucks, British Airways, and eBay announced their own use of chatbots in 2020. (Business Insider)
- 23% of customer service organizations are using AI chatbots. (Salesforce)
- 58% of websites that use chatbots are for B2B companies. (Relay)
- 80% of customers who have used chatbots report the experience as positive. (Uberall)
3. Social media and messaging apps
Social media changed the way people communicate, influencing the frequency, time and duration of interactions. People exchange messages with friends and family members non-stop. Their new communication habits translate into new ways in which they reach out to businesses. That shift became a real challenge for brands, and chatbots help face it.
- 1.4 Billion people are using messaging apps and are eager to communicate with chatbots. (Acquire)
- 55% of consumers are willing to interact with a business via messaging apps to solve a problem. (HubSpot)
- There are over 300 000 chatbots on Messenger. (Venture Beat)
- Mobile apps account for 10 out of every 11 minutes people spend using their mobile devices. (App Annie)
- Facebook is still the most popular social network with more than 2.5 billion active users. (We Are Social)
- Messaging apps are used by 5 billion users monthly. (HubSpot)
- Conversations between brands and customers via Messenger have a 30% better ROI than retargeting ads. (Business Insider)
- 74% of Millennials say that their perception of a brand improves if the company responds to their social media inquiries. (Microsoft)
4. Customer service
It’s estimated that there are over 2 billion digital buyers worldwide. Given current trends, there will be only more customers in the future that require support. So chatbots seem to be a reasonable solution for brands that wish to scale their customer services without much of a cost increase.
- In 2019 there was a 25% rise in the number of chats compared to 2018. (LiveChat)
- Compared to 2018, there was a 7% increase in the number of tickets in 2019. (LiveChat)
- Businesses spend over $1.3 trillion per year to address customer requests. Chatbots could help to reduce that cost by 30%. (IBM)
- 64% of customer support agents who utilize AI chatbots are able to spend most of their time solving difficult cases. (Salesforce)
- In 2019, the average queue waiting time was 4min 17 sec. Chatbots could shorten that time helping companies to increase customer satisfaction. (LiveChat)
- 67% of consumers have used social media, live chat or texting to contact customer service. (eMarketer)
- 56% of customers prefer to message rather than call customer service. (Outgrow)
- Chatbots can take care of 30% of live chat communication. (LiveChat)
While talking about chatbots, it’s impossible not to mention voice technology. Although it’s not as popular in customer support and marketing operations as chatbots, voice technology is developing in its own way. Brands such as Google and Amazon fuel the voice trend by creating more personalized and approachable interfaces, and many others follow in their footsteps so as to not fall behind.
- 16% of Americans have used voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home for shopping. (Chatbot Magazine)
- 1 in 6 Americans owned a smart speaker in 2018. (NRP and Edison Research)
- The top popular keywords in voice search phrases are "how", what" and "best." (Quoracreative)
- 20% of searches in the Google App are now done by voice. (Think with Google)
- 71% of consumers are satisfied with the voice assistants in their mobile devices. (Forbes)
- Google Assistant will soon be smart enough to detect what language is being spoken. (Quoracreative)
- 43% users between the ages of 16 and 64 are using voice search and voice commands on various devices. (We Are Social)
- The most popular voice searches on smart speakers are asking for music (70%), the weather forecast (64%), fun questions (53%), online search (47%), news (46%), and asking directions (34%). (Adobe)
- 28% of consumers call a local business after making a voice search. (BrightLocal)
- Google Home is reported to answer 81% of the queries correctly. Amazon Echo does slightly worse, as it manages to correctly answer to 64% of queries. (Quoracreative)
6. Chatbot & AI predictions
Chatbots have become well established in customer communication, though companies are still learning how to make the most of them. More and more businesses are going to invest in chatbots and reap the benefits in the future.
- Up to 73% of healthcare admin tasks could be automated by artificial intelligence. (Business Insider)
- By 2023 chatbots are going to save banking, healthcare and retail sectors up to $11 billion annually. (Business Insider)
- Over 50% of enterprise companies are predicted to spend more money on chatbot development than on mobile apps creations by 2021. (Gartner)
- By 2025, the chatbot market will reach over $1.2 billion globally. (Grand View Research)
- 70% of consumers will replace their visits to brick and mortar shops or banks with their voice assistants over the next three years. (Capgemini)
Hungry for more data?