Are chatbots just a 'hype' that will soon be forgotten? Have we hit the peak in chatbot popularity? Which markets do they have the most potential to flourish?
These are the questions on the minds of those interested in the new found momentum of chatbots, but realistically no one can answer them for sure. We cannot predict the future, but the results from a survey we carried out can gauge the predictions of those closest to the subject.
Who participated in the survey?
The majority of respondents of the survey build bots and make money from them (62%), the other participants either build for fun (16%), for research (8%) or are just interested in them (16%).
When asked for the respondents personal opinions of the future the common pessimistic point to be made was that it will be a slow development. Others noted it's mostly developers and companies that are early adopters of technology that are aware of the topic. The general public still don't understand the concept let alone the potential of chatbots.
More optimistic respondents suggested that chatbots will eventually move toward voice controlled, which will in turn diminish the need for graphical user interface.
Geographic markets: US, Asia, Latin America
Chatbot innovators predict the US and Asia to be the most popular geographic markets. The popularity of the US could be driven by bias, with majority of the respondents residing in the US. However the US does prove itself to be a market of early adopters and innovators as well as home to some of the worlds leading tech companies.
The popularity in Asia can be suggested to be because the high density of mobile devices and therefore high messengers usage in this area, whereas some of the messengers available already deployed chatbots in some ways to make them accessible for the public.
What is interesting though is the lack of prediction for the African market to take off. Given Africa is one of the strongest emerging markets, with both businesses and consumers mostly working via mobile rather than desktop, it would make sense for chatbots to thrive in the African market.
Another location that wasn't an option in the survey but would have surely been backed by innovators is South/Latin America. Again another market that is working predominately from mobile, fuelled by cheaper devices and mobile data accessibility.
Top industries: Customer service, eCommerce
Although broken into incredibly vague options, chatbot innovators confirm what is almost common sense. Chatbots will be most promising across customer service and eCommerce industries. Thos who responded other enthusiastically predicted chatbots will be popular everywhere!
Peak in popularity: In about 1 year
Most respondents agreed we have not yet reached the peak in popularity of chatbots. Most predicted things to kick off in a year (45%), closely followed by 2-5 years (40%).
Only 15% backed that the time is now which ultimately means that even though the innovation we have right now is exciting we can and will do a lot more with chatbots in the coming years.
Revenue potential: Absolutely
Good news bot enthusiasts, there is money to be made!
Our survey respondents 100% agreed that chatbots have the potential to make well over 1 Million USD a year, if they do take off.
Key players: Unsure
Although not the majority (40%) of innovators actually predicted that the market will eventually be dominated by a few key developers. This is an interesting idea that maybe isn't the first question people are asking about the future, but with the prediction of such an extensive potential revenue it will be interesting to see if this will be acquired by a small proportion of people like most the other big tech names.
The next question is, who will be the key developers? Will it be you?
Just a hype?
The final question and one that I would have said is a bias representation if the responses were 100% no... Are chatbots just a hype? Consensus says NO and so do we!
We are looking forward to reading further exploration of the future of chatbots and also would love to hear what you think.