The Latest Artificial Intelligence Statistics Trends and Data for 2021 (and Beyond)

By Eleanor Hecks January 31, 2021

The state of technology changes rapidly from year to year.

Staying on top of the latest trends in artificial intelligence (AI), web design, data management, and even new SaaS providers ensures you stay one step ahead of the competition.

Running a business is time-consuming.

This article outlines all the trends you need to know for 2021 to stay on top of a rapidly changing marketplace.

We’ve looked at the different studies and broken the data down for you for quick absorption.

AI Statistics, Trends & Data

When studying advances in AI and technology, there are many facts to look at.

The future of how businesses interact with customers ties into how well machines understand human behavior and can duplicate it.

01). Fusing AI and Cloud Computing

One significant change moving into 2021 is how health care is utilizing AI to better predict treatments and track patient records.

The North American AI market size is currently $11.4 billion but is expected to grow rapidly, mainly due to increased usage of diagnostics, treatments, and predictions.

The market expected to see the biggest growth is Asia-Pacific, which includes countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, and India.

One example of a company using machine learning technology to serve its clients is Cogito.

They used a computer to analyze real-time conversations with clients.

The bot worked as a support system for the insurance agents, offering advice on procedures and how to approach each client.

They saw a 26% improvement in resolving problems.

02). Analyzing Data Through Mapping

Big data is a term that terrifies some small business owners.

How do you take all the information available and turn it into a digestible format?

Fortunately, there are options to create visualizations and for AI to break down complex data into understandable charts.

One example of analyzing and using data to grow your business is mapping out where your competitors are and which areas they serve.

Importing sales data is one of the first steps to creating a map that helps you increase revenue.

There are many ways in which using big data to make maps benefits your business:

  • Mark sales territories, so reps know exact areas to cover.
  • See where your competition has a strong presence and a weak one.
  • Figure out what places are underserved and need more attention.
  • Identify opportunities.

Businesses using competitor mapping are much more successful than those that ignore what others in their industry do. Use your data and tap into stats from other companies.

An example of a business well-suited for mapping might be a local HVAC company. They are sure to have competitors.

Using a map shows what areas other brands serve and where they might pick up new clients.

They can also clearly see who they’ve serviced in the past and reach out to neighboring homes and businesses.

03). Increasing Revenue

The use of AI may be growing in popularity because of the resulting revenue increases. The McKinsey Global AI Survey indicated costs decreased while profits increased.

In marketing and sales, 40% of those adopting AI saw more than a 5% increase in sales.

There are many advantages to using AI in almost any type of business:

  • The use of machines makes employees more productive and shifts more time to creative promotions and product development.
  • With more time to dig into the daily tasks that make a company grow, it isn’t surprising firms adopting AI see an increase in profit.

Consider an e-commerce store selling children’s clothing. Perhaps they add a chatbot to answer customer questions.

The customer gets an immediate response, improving their experience, but the sales agents save their energy for answering the specific queries of those ready to place an order.

You can spend the extra time training them to better serve the needs of promising leads.

04). Connecting With Customers

Finding ways to connect with your audience and engage them is a top priority for most businesses.

When your customers engage with your brand, they’re much more likely to become fans and spread free word-of-mouth advertising for you.

In the State of the Connected Customer Report, researchers gathered insights from more than 8,000 consumers and business buyers.

Their goal was to figure out how customer expectations shift and look at technology changes helping businesses manage relationships.

The report broke results down into three generations, including Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials.

Something that stood out to researchers was that 73% of respondents across all ages said an extraordinary experience from one company raised their expectations for others.

What do increased consumer expectations mean for your brand?

First, you need to do more than simply match what competitors offer. You must go another step above and add your unique value proposition (UVP).

Dig into the big data behind why other organizations succeed. Figure out how to repeat what they do well, and add your own extraordinary offers.

Imagine you open a new bakery in a town with five other popular bakeries. Your process may look something like this:

  • You spend time gathering data and mapping the areas each serves. One is known for their shortbread cookies. Another delivers gorgeous wedding cakes.
  • You see what needs they aren’t serving in your community, and come up with your UVP to better fulfill a customer pain point.
  • Perhaps none of them deliver unique birthday and graduation cakes, so that becomes your niche.

You must excel in the area, but also go above and beyond them in customer service, how fast you deliver, and perhaps pricing.

05). Embracing Voice Command Technology

Statista predicts that by 2024 there will be about 8.4 billion digital voice assistants, exceeding the global population.

Thanks to mobile devices and smart speakers, people have started to rely on popular voice commands to complete ordinary tasks.

If you sell products intended for cars or homes, you’ll want to seek ways to incorporate voice technology.

Imagine you sell cookbooks.

How can you add a code and allow buyers to pull up a recipe via voice command?

Think about the many ways people might use voice commands to interact with your business:

  • Add voice search capabilities to your website.
  • Make your products usable with an app.
  • Tie into smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Home.

Look for solutions people will want to use in the future and seek to add them to your offerings today.

06). Creating a Balance

Not only are virtual machines powering much of our customer interactions, but consumers indicate they want everything automated.

At the same time, however, people want more customized experiences.

There must be a balance between personalization and automation.

Here are some ways to make sure you use technology to your advantage while still treating your clients like humans:

  • Automate repetitive tasks.
  • Add a human touch for customization.
  • Create answers based on common problems.
  • Program chatbots and other technology with natural language patterns.

While automation speeds up processes and frees up time for more productivity, watch for stress triggers.

One example is a cell phone provider such as AT&T. When you phone into their system, you must make many different selections to get to the area you need for a response.

If you choose incorrectly, you’ll get an automated response instead of a person and have to begin the process again.

Repeating procedures is aggravating for users and creates a negative experience.

Instead, train your machine to recognize out-of-the-ordinary requests and route them to a live agent.

07). Saving Time and Money With Chatbots

We’ve touched on the advantages of using chatbots, but there are some additional things to consider when adding this functionality to your site.

Juniper Research found chatbots will save e-commerce, banking, and health care businesses as much as $8 billion a year by 2022:

  • The average time saved using a chatbot versus a live agent is four minutes.
  • The average money saved per automated interaction is $.70.
  • By 2022, 93% of interactions will see success.

Also on the horizon in the future will be SMS chatbots.

Some brands already use this technique, such as local utility companies, to update account holders on outages or when bills are due.

Expect more companies to implement SMS in the near future.

Your IT department is also likely to embrace AI. More than 50% of budgets will be allocated to digital transformation and building systems to meet customer needs.

08). Easing Employee Concerns

Many are concerned AI technology will replace humans and negatively impact the job market.

Studies show AI is increasingly removing menial jobs. However, it isn’t precisely removing jobs as much as shifting the focus of the person’s work.

Machines still need human beings to oversee their function and set them back on the right path when they encounter errors.

Manufacturers and other industries train their employees in the use of software and machines.

The type of work they do changes, but they still have a job. It’s just a different type of work.

PwC reports that about 9% of jobs in the United States are at risk of automation by the early 2030s.

The report points out a few facts about AI to keep in mind in regards to employment opportunities:

  • Some jobs won’t be automated due to legal and economic considerations.
  • Positions will be lost to automation, but there will be gains elsewhere.
  • The jobs at the highest risk include wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing.

Business owners should think about how they can retain their top employees even in a shifting environment.

Offer opportunities for advanced training, so your workers know how to program and run AI.

Look for ways to tap into their creativity and people skills so you can shift their work to areas better suited to building your customer base.

09). Impacting the Future of Sales

For many years, the sales model was a person making a connection via face-to-face interaction.

The rise of the internet changed how salespeople function.

Today’s sales may still be in-person but might also be via a Zoom meeting, an email, social media, or a website shopping cart.

In the SalesForce State of Sales Report, researchers talked to 2,900 sales professionals globally to gain insight into changes in how they do business.

One of the things nearly every sales team pointed to as rising in popularity is data insights.

Companies are two times as likely to prioritize the leads showing a likelihood of buying after a big data analysis.

Representatives plan to track key performance indicators (KPI) via AI. Some of the KPIs they’ll study include:

  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Team quotas.
  • Individual quotas.
  • Customer retention.
  • Conversion rates.

If your brand doesn’t already use machines to help measure results, you’re missing out on big opportunities.

You can’t improve your operations if you don’t recognize areas that need fixing.

Key Takeaway

As technological changes march forward, some become commonplace over time.

Shifts occur rapidly, and the next few years will see changes in AI like no one has seen before as more companies embrace customer demands.

Expect to see changes across all sectors, but particularly in retail and manufacturing. The type of jobs humans do will change as machines take over more menial tasks.

People expect to interact with machines more during their daily tasks, and many welcome the shifting tide toward machine automation.

Machines Will Change 2021

Just as computers have gone from room-sized monstrosities to palm-sized mobile devices, the way people use technology will continue to change throughout 2021 and beyond.

What do you think?

What changes do you expect AI to bring in 2021?

How will you use technology to grow your brand?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.

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