45% of young people believe AI will choose better gifts than them within two years

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New research from Photobox Group, Europe’s leading digital consumer service for personalised products and gifts, and parent of the Photobox, Moonpig, Hofmann and posterXXL brands, has revealed the extent to which consumers trust in technology to make purchasing decisions.

The results demonstrate how emotion affects gift-purchasing, the importance of real gifts and that young people are the most receptive to new retail-tech such as AI and automated reminders.

“Let me help with that” – using AI to aid in personalisation

The research reveals that nearly one in two (45%) young people believe AI (artificial intelligence) will be better than them at finding a gift for a loved one within the next two years, with 48 per cent stating they’d trust technology to help create a personalised gift vs just 13 per cent of over 55s.

However, there is still general scepticism about using AI within the shopping process, with more than a third (36%) stating they feel unsure about AI in general.  For many this comes down to the ability to spot and interpret human emotion. With only 16 per cent of respondents believing tech can detect emotion, although those aged 16 to 24 have the most faith in it (27%).

Real moments matter

Despite increasingly sharing moments together online, real gifts still matter, with almost a billion exchanging hands in the UK every year – 18 per person – according to the study. Women give on average 20 gifts per year – six more than their male counterparts and peak gift-giving age is 25-34 (21 a year), declining to just 14 for the over 55s.

When asked about whether they rely on automated reminders from social media to help them remember to send all of these gifts, one in 10 people admitted to always relying on automated reminders, rising to 20 per cent of 16-24s.

While half (51%) of young people believe it’s the thought that counts when giving a gift, one in three (31%) admit experiencing anxiety trying to find the right one, with 44 per cent worried about knowing what their loved one will like. 29 per cent are also concerned they’re too swayed by their own personal preference.

“Technology can, and is, enhancing young people’s emotional intelligence in the shopping process,” said Jody Ford, CEO, Photobox Group.

“People are embracing technology to help enhance the emotional impact of the gift they’re giving.  Our tech specialists work in tandem with qualified psychologists to ensure we build not just smart products for our customers, but emotionally intelligent ones too, said Ford.

The research comes as Photobox rolls out a series of new AI-enabled services that help consumers create even more thoughtful personalised gifts, identifying the most powerful pictures to help tell their story.

While the findings point towards a future in which technology has an interdependent relationship with people, the report also shows a clear generational divide on how people are using technology and sharing gifts now.