Accenture research reveals information overload causing frequent cart abandonment in travel

Accenture research reveals information overload causing frequent cart abandonment in travel

GenAI also features in the report

Retail, consumer goods and travel companies could gain customers and revenue using Generative AI to improve the entire purchasing journey, according to new research from Accenture. 

The research, based on a survey of 19,000 consumers across 12 countries, highlighted the issue of ‘information overload’, with 73% of consumers feeling inundated by too much choice and 75% saying they are bombarded by advertising, resulting in 74% abandoning purchases in the last three months of 2023.  

The Empowered Consumer report offers fresh insights into consumers’ decision-making experiences across the retail, travel, and consumer goods industries. 

Amid competing claims, messages, advertising, choices, recommendations, algorithms, and apps, it emphasizes an urgent need for brands to tap into the transformative power of Generative AI to reduce the “noise” around decision-making and increase engagement, loyalty, and sales.  

The research also found that most people (71%) see no improvement or even see an increase in the time and effort required to make a purchase decision. This is comprised of the 41% who think it has got harder, and 30% who see no change. 29% think it takes less time and effort. 

Looking across categories, the research also points to the challenges that consumers experience when trying to make purchase decisions. 

These are not confined to big ticket items. For example, consumers feel less confident about booking a hotel than buying a car; booking a flight is nearly as nerve-wracking as getting a mortgage and choosing a moisturizer is on par with buying a washing machine.   

The report states that the empowerment of consumers through generative AI, other technologies and new ways of working will shift how people think about brands. 

Companies can make fundamental shifts across discovery, conversion and loyalty to reinvent decision making process and the relationships they have with consumers and the role they play in their lives. 

Early mover advantage will be especially important for consumer-facing companies intent on capturing value from gen AI across all parts of the business quickly, and at scale.  

Oliver Wrightsenior managing director and global lead for Accenture’s Consumer Goods & Services industry practice, said: We expect that in the next three years, the adoption of these gen AI technologies by consumers will bring the most significant reconsideration of what and how they decide to purchase that we have seen in decades. 

"Why? Because consumers are telling us they will use conversational gen AI solutions to help them research and buy products and experiences, and these tools will cut through the traditional sales and marketing messaging that, to date, has been the dominant shaper of consumption."

He added: "This will likely be the biggest opportunity to gain or lose market share that consumer companies have seen in recent memory.” 

According to the report, consumers themselves are increasingly seeking ways to lighten the workload and are starting to see how gen AI might take on some of the leg work. 

Accenture’s observation, based on conversations with executives across industries, is that consumers are on track to adopt generative AI-powered advisors rapidly and at scale over the next two years. 

Half (51%) of survey respondents said they’re open to using conversational AI solutions. 

Gen AI has the potential to deliver the hyper-relevant recommendations to consumers in the moment, whether it is the sandwich that meets their dietary needs, the family meal that fits their weekly budget, or the personalized skincare that really meets their needs," added Wright. 

The report also emphasises the importance of looking at the core operational processes holistically and using Generative AI to unlock value at scale. 

“Planning a trip can often feel siloed, disjointed and overwhelming as consumers grapple with the huge incoming volume of content and advertising from competing travel brands and influencers,” said Emily Weiss, senior managing director and global lead of Accenture’s Travel industry practice. “

"Generative AI has the potential to simplify, accelerate and enrich the travel booking experience, providing the sights, sounds and information and act as a ‘travel influencer’ elevating personalized recommendations in real time to help consumers feel more confident, informed and engaged. 

"It can act as a creative partner for travel marketers across design, research, and content creation, providing more targeted and intuitive marketing so that consumers can spend more time enjoying the experience. 

"However, as adoption of gen AI technology grows, it is important for companies to consider their competitive differentiators, as experiences could start to blend across brands.”  

 Getting the brilliant basics right remains table stakes when it comes to delivering shopping experiences that keep consumers coming back. 

The survey found that while six in 10 (62%) of consumers find some part of the shopping experience fun or exciting, a similar number (63%) felt frustrated and disappointed the product they want to buy is out of stock.  

Jill Standish, senior managing director and global lead for Accenture’s Retail practice, said: “When it comes to inspiration and product discovery, consumers are hard-wired for more natural, conversational, human-to-human interactions.

"Gen AI offers a chance to capture the entire purchasing journey, from inspiration to ideation to transaction, as part of a single, seamless, natural conversation."

She said: "For retailers, gen AI provides the opportunity to keep the consumer within their branded experience by linking product recommendations to inventory that’s in-stock and ready to be added to the shopping cart, not to mention the opportunity to get more insight into their existing customer base for loyalty programs and upselling opportunities.”