Adobe GenAI Report: Americans Hunger for AI Shopping Features


Artificial intelligence isn’t just a business advantage anymore. Tools like generative AI are a necessity now, especially in fashion retail, so says Adobe, which released new research on Monday aimed at learning about the tech’s impact on consumers.

If it seems like brands are facing a public that hungers for more AI-fueled experiences, that’s because they are. According to the study, which polled more than 3,000 U.S. consumers, 58 percent already credit generative AI for enhancing their shopping experiences. Specifically, when it comes to buying clothes, 52 percent indicated they’re likely to use genAI tools.

What’s unique about this tech craze is that it struck both consumers and businesses simultaneously.

This form of machine intelligence mimics creative, human-like effort, from artistic storytelling to generating visuals, both fantastical and lifelike. While genAI has been making deeper in-roads in retail — driving the latest crop of digital fashion models, visually dressing human models in realistic virtual versions of clothes to showcase size and fit, automatically creating descriptive product text and much more — individuals have been racking up experience with publicly available tools to create art, music and videos, or get a helping hand for work tasks, like pulling out key points in reports.

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A call-out data point from Adobe’s latest research, which shows a major jump in traffic from generative AI tools.

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“We’ve seen about 53 percent of Americans have tried generative AI, and they’re using it across these very interesting use cases around researching and brainstorming, creating visuals, summarizing text,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, told WWD.

According to Adobe, this experience mainly revolves around AI-powered chatbots or image generators. Of those who use it, the vast majority are doing so in their personal lives, at 81 percent, followed by work (30 percent) and school (17 percent). The data also shows meaningful traction: Of the people who regularly use genAI, 41 percent do so on a daily basis.

With this familiarity, American consumers are clear-eyed when they encounter the tech being used in online retail, and how it can help them.

“They’re using it to kind of unlock ways to price-compare, and think about their shopping options, look at reviews, customer reviews and learn new skills,” Pandya continued. “We’re starting to see them be more responsive in understanding when they’re interacting with generative AI across different components of sites, and in their receptiveness to having generative AI support their experiences, their buying journeys — especially if they can find that it can make things easier and more straightforward, and get quicker responsiveness.”

This is no mirage, according to Adobe. The report lines up with findings from its other marketing survey, as well as the company’s own analytics.

New insights from Adobe Analytics, crunched from aggregated, anonymized data across the majority of U.S. retailers, pegged significant growth of online traffic from generative AI tools to retail sites, at a jump of 304 percent year-over-year.

For Pandya, it’s quite evident that the trends are converging. As roughly 82 percent of consumers are taking up these tools themselves, he explained, people are noticing the tech in customer experiences. They have a keener understanding of how AI powers customer service chatbots and appreciate how platforms offer virtual makeup try-ons or visual overlays of furniture in their spaces.

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The American public shows extraordinary AI savvy.

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Such features are raising the level of consumer expectations among an American public that is not just hoping for superior experiences, but demanding them — for personalized interactions as well as for making products and services more affordable.

“That’s likely a factor of the inflation that they’ve already experienced,” he added. “So they’re seeing the power of it as individuals, and then they’re expecting more from their brands as a result of understanding its capabilities.”

Other retail findings from the Adobe report:

  • On use of genAI for virtual fashion try-ons using a selfie: 71 percent of respondents said it would boost their confidence while purchasing. Two-thirds, or 66 percent, want brands to use their purchase history or other data to make shopping more relevant to them.
  • On the most exciting genAI-based retail features: Consumers are the “most excited” about how genAI might help websites automatically filter products based on needs (at 40 percent), designing a custom product (37 percent), summing up product reviews (37 percent), customer service chatbots (36 percent) and virtual personal shoppers for custom options (31 percent).
  • On how Gen Z uses genAI: Respondents in the Gen Z bracket said they use genAI daily. Half of them use it most often to make research on shopping and price comparisons faster and easier. Nearly half use it to get speedier and better customer support when they contact a retailer.
  • For retail appeal, genAI may be a headliner: Forty-one percent already expect brands to use genAI for customer experiences now, and 49 percent said they’re more inclined to shop brands with genAI used in their e-commerce sites.
  • The consumer demand for AI: Overall, approximately 77 percent stated that they want brand experiences to be personalized to their needs. However, 44 percent admit that, so far, retail’s use of AI is not as helpful as it could be.

The last point illustrates the opportunity. Most people want genAI to improve shopping, yet nearly half believe it isn’t there yet. This could be a recipe for frustration.

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The desire for smarter filtering shows that product search and discovery is still a problem, and consumers see AI as a solution.

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On a broader level, it also reflects a taut dynamic that’s taking shape right now. AI is a bogeyman for lawmakers in the U.S. and across the globe — and for good reason — while it seems that consumers can’t get enough of it. Retail, as the most consumer-facing sector, is caught somewhere in the middle, and apparently a lot of retail operations are unprepared. According to a Salesforce report last week, 93 percent of retailers are using genAI for personalization, but nearly half admit that they haven’t connected their data to optimize for it.

Pandya sees the disconnect as well. Retailers and brands are obviously racing to catch up with the consumer.

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High-profile, creative brand experiences may get the most attention, but what shoppers want even more — by a large margin — is simply better customer service.

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Take personalization, for example. “Personalization was a pretty daunting initiative in a pre-AI universe that we were in, not more than a year ago,” he said. “And now as generative AI is allowing for visuals to be created, for different ad sizes to be generated, for different customer journeys to be created, we’re seeing marketers leveraging it pretty heavily for creating visuals, creating content, images …Customers 1711421953 want these more sophisticated experiences.

“And now the brands and the marketers are really scaling up their utilization, in order to meet the moment.”



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