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The empowered consumer

The key to deeper consumer relationships: reducing the noise around decision-making.


April 29, 2024

In brief

  • Consumers are finding buying decisions overwhelming, and walking away from purchases.

  • Generative AI is powering hyper-personalized experiences, cutting through the noise and deepening consumer relationships.

  • Shifting three key phases of the consumer journey will transform the role companies play in people’s lives, driving relevance and loyalty.

People are overwhelmed by noise and choice

In the last quarter of 2023, 74% of consumers surveyed for Accenture’s Consumer Research 2024 walked away from purchases simply because they felt overwhelmed. Despite focus on customer-centricity and personalized experiences over the past few years, most people (71%) see no improvement — or even see an increase — in the time and effort required to make a purchase decision.

Information overload is impacting people’s confidence in their purchase decisions across the board, from small things like moisturizer to big ticket items like a washing machine.

But there’s good news both for consumers and the companies seeking to serve them: new and emerging AI tools can help companies deliver hyper-personalized experiences that not only cut through the noise, but also simplify decision-making, deepening loyalty in the process. Consumers are on track to adopt conversational AI at scale over the next two years, as they increasingly seek to lighten their workloads associated with making purchases.

Ultimately, we expect this shift to trigger the largest reconsideration in decades of what and how consumers buy. Companies that effectively harness technology to empower consumers with easier decisions will earn deeper loyalty, leaving competitors behind.


of consumers abandoned purchases because they felt overwhelmed


of consumers feel overwhelmed by the volume of available options


of consumers are open to using conversational AI solutions

Shaping the ultimate in consumer empowerment

Search is a critical component of how consumers start the purchase journey, and generative AI is upgrading search from simple to semantic, and from overwhelming to transparent. In different contexts, a consumer may want to browse independently, obtain expert advice, or even outsource the decision completely. Emerging technology offers companies the chance to collect and use granular, life-centric knowledge about each individual consumer to curate uniquely personal experiences.

As consumers rely more on AI-powered tools to decide what to buy, the tech will learn more about them — even if their preferences change — and become increasingly relevant and sophisticated.

Generative AI is becoming a vehicle for empowered decision-making.

Empowering consumers will transform how they think about brands such that they become a part of life beyond a single purchase. To remain relevant into the future, companies must rapidly build deep and hyper-personalized relationships — generative AI will enable them to do this on a scale never seen before. That’s why early movers can capture a distinct competitive advantage. Companies that watch and wait are unlikely to catch up.

Success requires fundamental shifts across 3 phases of the consumer journey

01 Discovery

From confusion to clarity

Tailor advice for consumers so they have the facts and insights to make decisions confidently.

02 Conversion

From transactions for anyone to experiences for someone

Design personalized experiences that influence consumers to act.

03 Loyalty

From brand purpose to human purpose

Create a partnership that’s human by design to build trust and earn loyalty

Fundamental shifts across the consumer journey

01 Discovery


of consumers wish they could identify options that meet their needs more quickly and easily.

Whether as intuitive digital services or human agents, generative AI-powered advisors are an incredibly accessible way to access the hyper-personalized advice that consumers crave. We expect the rise of these tools to fundamentally redirect the role of consumer marketing away from mass advertising and toward evidence-based information.

Generative AI-powered advisors can calm the confusion consumers feel by helping them compare options based on the metrics they care the most about — whether those are benefits, sustainability credentials, nutrition labels or something else.

Empowering agents to personalize conversations

A European auto giant is developing an AI-powered sales tool that would draw on what the company knows about consumers’ lives and personalities to help sales agents personalize the interactions and services they offer. Insights like these can change the style and content of conversations that sales agents have with consumers, as well as evolving the sales role and shifting the focus from transactional to strategic.

02 Conversion


of consumers have had the frustrating and disappointing experience of attempting to buy a product only to find that it is out of stock (on average across categories)

Conversion comes down to what happens at the point of purchase and consumers don’t all share the same expectations. For consumers seeking independence, multi-modal search engines imitate the flexibility and agility of the human mind to create more accurate search results. For companies, analyzing search semantics allows an understanding of the intent and context behind a user’s search rather than simply matching keywords to recommendations.

This could make the shopping experience significantly more personalized, adding value and easing the information gathering workload.

In the spirit of conversion

Alcoholic beverage company Brown-Forman Corporation is using AI to shift consumer messages on product display pages across its brand portfolio by aligning the messages it shows to each stage of the purchasing journey. These brand-led, creative messages provide the information consumers need to complete their purchases with ease.

03 Loyalty


of consumers say it is important for conversational AI advisors to recognize them and remember their preferences

Companies can cultivate loyalty by sharpening the value exchange with consumers, such that it’s worth sharing more usable data in return for hyper-personalized experiences.

Because of how they understand consumers, generative AI tools make it possible for organizations to design experiences based on human purpose, not brand purpose. This is a profound shift. It enables companies to create “human” relationships with consumers that extend beyond a single purchase, so they become embedded in people’s lives.

A genius approach to loyalty

L’Oréal’s Beauty Genius is an AI-powered advisor that analyses consumers’ skin to recommend what they need, using discovery as an engagement tool. When consumers use Beauty Genius, learning about products isn’t just informative — it’s highly engaging and inspires them to return time and time again.

Be data-powered and delightfully human

The key to truly understanding and engaging consumers is being data-powered and delightfully human. Companies need a robust data foundation — including structured, unstructured and synthetic data — in unified data platforms to maximize the potential of generative AI. At the same time, they should make decisions with the human experience as the touchstone. Instead of focusing solely on removing the pain points of the journey to purchase, organizations should also consider what gets consumers excited about the process.

Consumer-facing companies have always been grounded in relationships with consumers, and those relationships are constantly changing. Right now, consumers want a lighter load and a quieter experience when making purchases. Ultimately, companies that empower the consumer with simpler experiences will drive loyalty and breakthrough growth. Technology that is human by design has tremendous potential to transform the buying experience — and people are increasingly open to it.

This is a huge shift, and it’s happening now.


James Crowley

Global Products Industry Practices Chair

Jill Standish

Senior Managing Director – Global Lead, Retail

Emily Weiss

Senior Managing Director – Global Industry Sector Lead Travel

Oliver Wright

Senior Managing Director – Consumer Goods & Services, Global Lead

Emma Blackburn

Research Senior Manager – Consumer Insights