Not so long ago, mentions of artificial intelligence would have conjured up images of a Terminator-style ‘Judgement Day’ scenario. Nowadays, it’s fair to say that people have a much more pragmatic view of the whole thing. Developers have identified a number of areas in which AI - whether more or less pre-programmed - can improve efficiency, usually by either automating tasks or analyzing and streamlining processes.
Chatbot statistics reveal that one of the main areas in which AI is already helping businesses - in one way or another - is customer service. As we’ll see in this in-depth article, the usage of bots in this field is happening on a sizable scale, will almost certainly continue to increase, and could provide some huge benefits for businesses and customers alike.
Top 10 Chatbot Statistics in 2020
- 80% of businesses are expected to have chatbot automation by 2020.
- Google search volume for “chatbots” has increased 19 times in the past five years.
- 67% of internet users have used a chatbot within the past year.
- 35% of consumers have already bought items with a chatbot’s help.
- Businesses currently spend $1.3 trillion on customer service each year.
- Chatbots could save businesses up to 30% in customer service spending.
- The use of virtual assistants can lead to a 99% improvement in response times.
- 58% of companies currently using chatbots are B2B.
- 71% of companies with chatbots have between 1 and 50 employees.
- Facebook already uses over 300,000 bots on its Messenger platform.
The Biggest Chatbot Trends
1. Google search volume for “chatbots” has grown 19 times in the last five years.
For the uninitiated, chatbots are simply computerized services with which you interact via a chat interface. They can be used for practical purposes - like customer service, or to help organize your life - or simply as a bit of fun.
Considering this phrase would have been largely unknown just a few years ago, it is becoming commonplace at an incredibly quick rate, as this rapid increase in Google search volume shows.
2. 40% of people don’t care if they’re helped by a chatbot or a real human.
While people in the past might have been suspicious of computerized ‘personalities’ - as shown in innumerable Hollywood movies - nowadays they’re becoming more and more unremarkable. Easy examples of this are how people will automatically use Siri on their iPhone or Alexa on their Amazon device.
This statistic on chatbot usage clearly exemplifies this. It suggests that, while most people might still prefer to be helped by a human overall, a sizable portion of them couldn’t care less! It bodes a little ill for statistics on jobs lost to automation, though.
3. 67% of businesses believe chatbots will outrun mobile apps in the next five years.
Technology has moved extremely quickly in the past couple of decades, and this trend only seems to be continuing. People might only have been catching up with the move from desktop to mobile devices, for instance. But now chatbot usage might already be set to surpass even mobile apps! And that’s really something: Google plays claims apps will earn $60 billion in 2023.
Business owners are generally pretty good at judging the direction that things are going. Their livelihoods depend on it, after all. So if they think chatbots are going to outrun mobile apps, it’s certainly worth paying attention.
4. 56% of companies in technology and multimedia industries will invest in contact center AI in the near future.
As we mentioned in the introduction, customer service looks to be one of the main ways in which chatbots will be used going forward.
Tech and multimedia companies need to stay on the cutting edge more than most industries, so their commitment to investing in chatbots for customer service is meaningful. It shows that this technology isn’t something which will be utilized in a distant future - it’s already starting to be developed and widely implemented now.
5. The success rate of bot interactions in healthcare is set to rise from 12% to over 75% by 2022.
Another area in which chatbots might prove vital is healthcare. Whether it’s for basic diagnoses or booking appointments, allowing people to use chatbots would take a huge amount of strain off healthcare institutions like clinics and hospitals.
Of course, when it’s something as important as people’s health, you better be sure that the technology works pretty well! As the latest stats suggest, the execution isn’t quite good enough in this field yet, but it should be vastly improved in the very near future.
6. The areas most likely to benefit from chatbots are customer service (95%), sales and marketing (55%), and order processing (48%).
Customer service is the area most commonly linked to chatbots, so it’s easy to get focused solely on that. Creative developers, though, have found a whole range of different uses for this technology.
Sales and marketing, which we’ll touch on later in our chatbot statistics, is a potentially lucrative arena for chatbots. It’s also easy to see how chatbots can streamline order processing by interacting directly with customers. According to this survey, other such areas include social media, payment processing, and recruitment.
Stats on Chatbots in Customer Service
7. Businesses currently spend $1.3 trillion on customer service each year.
It’s something you might not think about as a customer because you simply expect it as a basic right, but customer service doesn’t come cheap! From the vast numbers of employees on the payroll to all the hardware and software they need to do their jobs, the costs are pretty startling.
Making money in business is often about streamlining and reducing costs where possible. When you see a number like this, it’s pretty easy to guess that customer service is one area in which most companies would love to save a few bucks! Any chatbot market analysis of where the technology might best be used would probably start here.
8. 2 billion messages are sent between users and businesses daily.
The days of big businesses being removed and separated from their customers are long gone. In the modern age, people don’t just hope to be able to contact businesses which they’re buying from. They expect it.
This statistic doesn’t just tell us that a whole lot of B2C business takes place online. It tells us the staggering scale of that business, with literally billions of messages being sent between businesses and consumers every single day.
9. Companies with human customer support agents take an average of 10 hours to respond to messages.
Some people say that we live in an ‘on-demand’ age. Between contactless payments, streaming services, ever-faster hardware, and so on, we expect to get what we want extremely quickly, if not instantly.
As you can clearly see, human customer support certainly does not fit into this category. By this stage, waiting 10 hours just to get a response simply won’t be good enough for a lot of people.
10. 77% of surveyed customers say chatbots will transform their expectations of companies in the next five years.
The previous entry in our stats illustrated one area in which businesses could improve, and chatbots could certainly help them in that! Whether it’s for that reason or any of chatbots’ other benefits, they’re clearly going to be a big part of the B2C relationship going forward.
As you can see here, over three-quarters of surveyed customers believe that chatbots will make a big difference to their expectations of companies. Whether companies can live up to those expectations remains to be seen.
11. Users’ top three expectations for chatbots are answering a question, giving detailed explanations, and resolving a complaint.
As previously noted, customers certainly think that chatbots will change their expectations for companies in the coming years. It’s interesting, therefore, to find out what exactly they’re looking for.
There are three clear answers to that question - resolving an inquiry, giving detailed explanations, and sorting out a complaint. As you can see, all three relate to customer service, confirming once again that this will probably be the main popular chatbot usage going forward.
12. 56% of people would rather send a message than call customer service.
This is another illustration of how times have changed. Back in the old days, giving customer service a phone call was the only way to get in touch with a company (apart from snail mail). The internet age, however, has given us a whole new way of communicating, and over half of people now would prefer to simply send a message online.
For chatbot developers, of course, this is a dream come true. While some businesses - particularly banks - already use automated phone services, the scope for what can be achieved with text-based chatbots seems far greater.
13. 21% of users see chatbots as the easiest way to contact a business.
Chatbots might be becoming better-known, as shown by Google search volume, but they’re still not entirely accepted by users. Everyone naturally wants to contact a business in the easiest way possible, and right now a mere one in five people use chatbots for this purpose.
Whether it’s through the improvement of the services or simple acceptance over time, this number will have to change for true chatbot growth to take place.
14. 43% of online banking users prefer to address issues using a chatbot.
Taken in the context of our previous stat, this is actually a pretty interesting factoid. For the first time, we get a sense of how different demographics view chatbots in different ways - something we’ll explore in more detail as we go along.
As we can see here, for example, the number of online banking users who prefer to use chatbots is substantially higher than the 21% of more general users. This might be due to better implementation in the banking sector, or simply banking being more suited to what chatbots can offer.
15. 46% of people believe that chatbots are used to keep them away from human agents.
Well, one thing is for sure - people aren’t stupid! Even when it comes to relatively new technology like chatbots, they can pretty easily see through any marketing speak and gauge the real reason that companies want to bring in chatbots.
We’ve already touched upon the amount businesses are currently spending on customer service and how slow it is. Using chatbots instead of humans lessens both of these problems, so we’d say that users’ suspicions - that chatbots are simply there to keep them away from actual people - are pretty insightful!
16. 16% of US adults own a smart speaker.
While a chatbot might seem a new trend even in 2019, they’re already very much a part of modern life for many people.
It’s not as obvious an example as a customer service bot, but something like Amazon’s Alexa - which comes with Echo and Dot smart speakers - is still an example of a chatbot. And while 16% may not seem like a massive amount, when you’re talking about 16% of the entire adult population of the US, you’re already looking at over four million people in one country alone.
Statistics on How Chatbots are Used For Business
17. 58% of companies currently using chatbot technology are B2B.
If you’re looking for a general statistic to clue you up on how chatbots are being used in 2019, this is an excellent one.
While you might have a general picture of chatbots being mainly used on smart speakers, ecommerce stores, and so on, the reality is that over half of them are actually used by B2B companies.
18. Only one in every 200 B2B companies actually has a chatbot.
As you can see, chatbots are still not exactly commonplace among B2B businesses.
While they’ve certainly become considerably better-known, chatbots are far from being mainstream. If you were to guess how many businesses use chatbots, whether they were B2B or not, you may well have guessed that it was more than a paltry 0.5%. Based on the other stats we’ve already looked at and the ones still to come, this number should shoot up in the coming years.
19. 71% of the companies currently using chatbots have between 1 and 50 employees.
This could be another stat to surprise you! After all, you might assume that the companies with plenty of money to throw around would be the ones to invest in and implement new technologies.
Not so! In fact, according to the latest chatbot usage statistics, the vast majority of such bots are being used by small businesses of only 1-50 employees. The bigger companies may well be taking the ‘wait and see’ approach and making sure that the tech works before introducing it properly.
20. Facebook already uses over 300,000 bots on its Messenger platform.
One big company which is certainly no stranger to technological innovation is Facebook, so it’s no surprise to see that it’s ahead of the curve with chatbots too. Even so, the sheer scale of these Facebook Messenger bot stats is pretty impressive, with hundreds of thousands already in place.
It’s important to note, though, that the vast majority of these won’t have been developed by the tech giant itself. Rather, much like apps on the regular Facebook platform, they’ll have been created by innovative third parties to fulfill a range of tasks.
21. Only 20% of IT professionals believe their company can successfully utilize AI.
One running theme that you’ll find throughout this article is that chatbots are already pretty useful and will only become more so with time. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re easy to put in place.
In fact, only one out of every five IT professionals feels confident in successfully implementing AI. That’s a clear inhibitor to installing more complicated chatbots and could help to explain why chatbot percentage amongst B2B companies is still relatively low.
eCommerce Chatbot Statistics
22. 53% of customers are more likely to buy from shops they can contact directly.
As we touched upon earlier, there’s far less separation between companies and their customers than there used to be. Whether because of social media’s prevalence or the increased number of customer service options, it’s easier for customers to contact a business than ever before.
We can see here that these direct contact options aren’t merely a convenience anymore. They can directly impact whether someone buys from a shop or not, according to the 2019 chatbot stats. Accordingly, it makes sense that shops will be trying to facilitate this contact, including through the use of chatbots.
23. 47% of consumers are open to buying items using a chatbot.
Much as with regular customer service, chatbots are entering the mainstream when it comes to online shopping. Ecommerce stores are using bots to not only answer basic and augment the customer service team but even to provide personalized product recommendations.
It might have seemed weird once upon a time to buy a product from a bot. But as the latest chatbot stats show, that’s simply not the case anymore.
24. 35% of consumers have already bought items with a chatbot’s help.
In short, this takes what we learned in theory from our previous stat and puts it into practical application. People aren’t only open to buying from a chatbot - they’re already doing it.
Not only that, but over a third of consumers are willing to take actual advice from a chatbot. Making it possible to give personalized recommendations based on tastes and prior buying behavior is one of the major ongoing chatbot-related developments in this field. Based on this stat, we’d expect that to continue being one of the major chatbot trends in 2019.
25. People from emerging markets are more likely to message a business directly.
Anyone involved in basically any business needs to understand a basic truth. Different people have different tendencies, and you need to know who you’re trying to target. That’s the case in just about all sectors, and this certainly includes ecommerce.
We already know from an earlier statistic that people are more likely to buy from a store they can contact directly. According to this stat, that trend is even more pronounced among people in emerging markets, making these great areas to target for chatbot development.
26. 49% of female online shoppers prefer to use online chat or chatbots to communicate with a business, versus 37% of men.
When it comes to identifying and knowing about demographic trends, it’s a case of ‘the more knowledge, the better’ for online businesses. Well, here we have another statistic that should make it into any demographics-based chatbot presentation!
We won’t even speculate on the reasons for this one, but the conclusion is clear. Almost half of all female shoppers prefer messaging a business via chat or a chatbot, with far fewer men following suit.
27. Over 50% of customers expect a business to be open 24/7.
We know already that customers want to be able to directly contact the companies they buy from. But it’s no longer good enough to provide customer service a good portion of the time. Now, the new expectation is becoming that you are literally always available.
Businesses are going to need to respond to this expectation one way or another. And as we’ll see, it’s a lot cheaper to do so with the help of chatbots than with humans.
Chatbot Engagement Statistics
28. 60% of people believe a human would better understand their needs than a chatbot.
As we’ve noted, businesses are already trying to use chatbots to ‘understand’ the needs of their customers. This could be through personalized recommendations on a clothes store or Alexa suggesting a song you might like.
While chatbots are certainly more accepted than they used to be, though, this looks like one area in which developers are facing an uphill battle. People already have a built-in bias that other humans can understand them better than a bot, and it won’t be easy to change that.
29. 27% of consumers are unsure if their last relevant interaction was with a human or chatbot.
There will certainly be growing pains with chatbot implementation like the one listed above, but this suggests that big progress is already being made.
At first glance, 27% might not seem like a big number. When you think of how hard it is to pass the Turing Test, though, and make a bot seem like a human, we’d argue that’s already very impressive indeed.
Considering customers’ aforementioned bias for interacting with humans over bots, making this leap would be extremely significant for the success of chatbots.
Interestingly, 26% of people think they interact with AI daily, while 5% believe most of the services they enjoy are powered by artificial intelligence. It just goes to show that people’s perception of chatbots and AI in general is a little skewed or misinformed.
30. 69% of people are willing to use chatbots for a specific action. Only 5% aren’t willing to use them at all.
Companies like Amazon and Apple might be trying to push their catch-all bots, but that’s likely to take a while to become mainstream. What’s already widely accepted, though, is that chatbots are able to help us with certain tasks.
Over 2/3 of people believe this to be the case, based on current chatbot statistics. Perhaps even more importantly, a mere one in every 20 people completely discount the idea of using a chatbot for anything.
31. 34% of users want to use a chatbot as a way to be connected to a human.
So far, most of our statistics have been treating the chatbot versus human approach to customer service as an either/or question. This particular stat, though, suggests that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.
People might still prefer to speak to a human versus a bot, but a significant percentage are happy to use a bot en route to speaking to a human. As you may have experienced when phoning a business (perhaps a bank), this can even be beneficial, helping to refer you directly to a relevant representative.
32. 50% of French users see chatbots as a positive, versus 32% in the US and 33% in Japan.
We saw already how gender differences even applied to interactions between customers and companies, and how geographical location could play a role in the relationship too. Well, the latter factor is cemented by this demographic stat, which shows how people actually have significantly different views on chatbots based on where they’re from.
The results are certainly surprising. European markets, particularly in France, tend to be more receptive to chatbots, whilst some of the most technologically advanced nations in the world - like the US and Japan - are still hesitant.
33. Baby boomers are 24% more likely to expect benefits from chatbots than millennials.
Not only is this another interesting demographic stat about people’s views on chatbots, but it’s arguably our most surprising so far!
We think it’s fair to say that you’d naturally expect younger people to be more receptive to new things. That’s true not just of technology, but of a wider culture. Well, for whatever reason, that’s not the case when it comes to chatbots! In fact, baby boomers (people born roughly between 1946-1964) are vastly more likely to be optimistic about chatbots than millennials (approximately 1981-1996).
What Are the Main Benefits of Chatbots?
34. 62% of surveyed people believe AI can reduce the time it takes to receive customer service.
Time and time again, we’ve seen how customer service is one of, if not the biggest area which customer service might affect. If our earlier stat about the average human response time being 10 hours was alarming, this shows how hopeful people are that chatbots will greatly reduce that time.
Elsewhere in this research, we find that the other major belief people hold is that chatbots will be able to tailor their online experience to their preferences.
35. 38% of users rated their chatbot experience as ‘positive.’ Only 11% rated it as ‘negative.’
Only the most confident developers would claim that we’re already ‘there’ when it comes to chatbots. Like all new technologies, it’ll take a while to both iron out the kinks and realize its full potential.
With that said, it seems like we’re already at a pretty good place, with over 1/3 of people rating their chatbot experience as being ‘positive.’ Perhaps more encouragingly, a mere 11% had a ‘negative’ experience. This shows that, even if the technology isn’t perfect, it’s not ruining people’s days!
36. People see the biggest potential benefit of chatbots as being 24-hour customer service.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed how perfectly this links up with one of our earlier chatbot stats. Specifically, the one which suggested over 50% of people expected a business to be open 24/7.
While that might seem a little optimistic, it’s definitely something which chatbots can make possible. Not only that, but people actually see this as being the number one benefit which chatbots might bring.
37. People see the least likely benefits of chatbots as being friendliness and approachability.
That last statistic was pretty positive, and we know we’re supposed to be discussing ‘benefits’ here, but let’s give some perspective with a little negativity too!
In the same survey as stat #36, the respondents were also asked about the least likely benefits of chatbots. In fairness, their choices make complete logical sense. It’s hard to expect things like genuine friendliness and approachability from something you know to be a bot after all, and this might prove to be one of the biggest difficulties which developers need to overcome.
38. Chatbots might save companies up to 30% in customer service spending.
If you were to ask the companies themselves about the benefits of chatbots, we’re pretty sure this would be near the top of the list.
Most things in business come down to the bottom line, after all, and we’ve already seen just how expensive customer service can be. Saving 30% in this area would make an absolutely massive difference to companies of all shapes and sizes.
39. Companies in banking and healthcare alone are predicted to save $8 billion by 2022 by using chatbots.
If the last stat was a little abstract, then this puts a concrete figure on things. When we reference a reduction in customer service spending, we’re not talking small change. We’re talking literally billions of dollars in some cases.
Banking has long been an industry which embraces the latest technologies to help their customers, and we’ve already outlined the benefits which chatbots might bring in healthcare. With these kinds of savings on the line, you can bet these are two sectors which will be leading the charge in chatbot development.
40. 64% of agents at companies with AI chatbots spend their time solving complex problems.
We’ve talked a few times already in our chatbot statistics from 2018 and beyond about the customer service benefits for the actual customers. But what about the people who actually work in customer service?
This stat illustrates the extent to which chatbots can help make the process more efficient. By dealing with straightforward inquiries, they allow 64% of agents to concentrate on the more challenging problems. Compare that to 50% of companies without chatbots, and the difference really is night and day.
41. Using virtual assistants can lead to a 99% improvement in response times.
We haven’t done the surveys, admittedly, but we’re taking a wild guess that 100% of people would like their questions and complaints answered as quickly as possible.
We’ve already covered how long people normally have to wait for human responses to their inquiries — a whopping 10 hours, on average. Chatbots can make a mockery of this delay. An improvement of 99% on response times is a win/win for both the business and the customer.
Chatbots might not sound like the sexiest technological development. When you consider that the general purpose of technology is to simply make our lives easier, though, they become a very exciting proposition indeed.
Whether it’s in B2B relations, customer service, order processing, or shopping recommendations, chatbots are incredibly versatile. Not only can they save time, but they can save money too, as we’ve seen numerous times in our chatbot statistics. They might not be fully developed yet, but once they are, a whole lot of people around the world are going to benefit.