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05 Nov 2023

Accenture says AI is bringing on a decade of deconstruction

The rapid advance of technology in all areas of life is putting societies in flux, creating uncertainty and forcing people to reassess their plans for the future, according to a new report from consulting firm Accenture.

The Annual Life Trends report shows that half of people globally are significantly altering their life goals, prioritising job stability and retirement over marriage or getting a college degree.

Another 48 per cent now only plan 12 months ahead (or less) – with some not making any plans at all.

Mark Curtis, global sustainability lead for Accenture Song, said: “We’re entering a decade of deconstruction spurred on by changing consumer values, AI’s explosive growth and the relentless speed of change."

According to the report this shift in mindset – brought on in part by the increasing intrusion of technology into people's lives – is creating challenges and some degree of fragility for businesses, as people are deconstructing everything in their lives and trying to assess their place in the world.

As an example of the way the relationship between consumers and businesses is changing, the report charts how, for years, the correlation between customer experience and revenue growth has inspired organisations to hold the customer at the centre of every decision.

Now, economic considerations are forcing cuts, creating friction between customers and brands in the form of price increases, reduced quality, value engineering, increased and aggressive subscription-only models – which is forcing some governments to legislate to protect consumers – and poor customer service.

The reductions in quality or size (‘shrinkflation’), declines in service (‘skimpflation’), customer service shortcomings and unwelcome subscriptions are adding up to a sense that brands are quietly reversing on their promises.

At the center of this trend, the report states, is a critical perception problem – where companies see actions for survival, some customers see greed.

Liz Terry, editorial director at Leisure Media, said: "In the face of so much change and the redrawing of expectations, there are important opportunities for all leisure businesses, given how fundamental they are to people's lives, how nimble and responsive leisure is as a sector – from spa and wellness to health and fitness, hospitality and visitor attractions – and how customer-focused we can be when the customer is made a priority.

"Operators in all parts of the sector can commit to being a grounding influence in a time of huge upheaval for so many people and to reprioritising customer care and customer love, so we continue to deliver the experiences so many people are yearning for and value.

"Given businesses in so many parts of life are failing to deliver, this is our chance to really stand out."

The changing relationship between consumer and business is one of five global macro-cultural trends which Accenture predicts will revolutionise how business leaders approach customers when working to accelerate growth.

For the report, Accenture surveyed 15,227 respondents across 21 countries in August 2023 to validate the trends.

The five trends in summary are:

01 Where's the love?
Necessary cuts across enterprises have shunted customer obsession down the priority list – and customers are noticing.

02 The great interface shift

Generative AI is upgrading people’s experience of the internet from transactional to personal, enabling them to feel more digitally understood and relevant than ever.

03 Meh-diocrity

Creativity was once about the audience, but has become dependent on playing the tech system. Is this what creative stagnation feels like?

04 Error 429: Human request limit reached

Technology feels like it’s happening to people rather than for them. Is a shift beginning, where they regain agency over its influence on daily life?

05 Decade of deconstruction

Traditional life paths are being rerouted by new limitations, necessities and opportunities, significantly shifting demographics.

To read the full report, click here.

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