By Rieva Lesonsky

Mintel recently announced its four key trends set to impact North American consumer markets over the coming year. It believes Americans and Canadians are facing uncertainty these days, and as a result consumers will be “attuned to consumer trends across transparency, value, self-care and automation.”

This is the last in a series of taking a closer look at one of Mintel’s four top trends.

Trend #4: Life in Sync – Voices & Visuals

As in the movie Her, Mintel says the line between the online and offline worlds will continue to blur, as “smart systems deliver seamless convenience—with voice control and image recognition at the helm.”

Stacy Bingle, Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel, says last year Mintel “correctly predicted that life would become ‘seamless and smarter thanks to major advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). That trajectory continues,” she says, “and in 2018, speak (or show) and you shall receive, as the time has come for the quickness and intuitiveness of chatbots to migrate from type to talk.”

However, Bingle warns, “The future of AI is fraught with concerns. [And yet] it will bring unimagined benefits to the world. Eventually, AI will move from phones to the field of vision, syncing worlds even more effortlessly.”

What does this mean for your business? Bingle says businesses should “work toward a seamless and synced future today by using voice- and visual-based technology to truly take the ‘think’ out of consumer interactions.”

You can download a free copy of Mintel’s North America Consumer Trends 2018 report here.