Over four in 10 (42%) Australian businesses are already using artificial intelligence (AI) to boost their e-commerce operations and more than two-in-five Australian consumers (43%) would use AI to help them shop online, according to findings in the 2023 PayPal eCommerce Index.

PayPal Australia general manager, Andrew Toon said, “AI has captured the world’s attention and imagination but for many of us it’s already a normal part of our day-to-day lives. From hailing a ride share to the facial recognition on your phone, receiving weather predictions or using a chatbot to tell your supermarket the milk didn’t arrive – AI has become so ubiquitous that we may not even realise its presence.”

The research found that Australian businesses are ahead of consumers in their adoption of AI. Although more than two-in-five Australian businesses (42%) are already using AI to power at least one aspect of their e-commerce activities, only about one-in-five Australian consumers (18%) have used a generative AI tool (such as ChatGPT, MidJourney or Dall-E). However, this figure rises to close to one-in-three for Australians under 40 years old (32% of whom have used a generative AI tool).

The top 6 uses of AI in e-commerce by Australian businesses are writing web content (15%), providing product recommendations (15%), creating visual design elements (14%), managing returns, exchanges or delivery status updates (14%), responding to social media comments or messages (13%) and detecting fake or auto-generated comments and reviews (12%).

Another 43% of Australian businesses who are not currently using AI for e-commerce say that they would like to, showing the appetite for adopting these emerging technologies.

Many Australian consumers also see the benefits of using AI for e-commerce. The Index found that more than two-in-five Australians (43%) say they would use AI to help them shop online, with this rising to more than half of Australians (56%) under the age of 40. Pointing to potential future adoption, a much larger portion, two-thirds (63%) of Australia’s Gen Z shoppers (aged 18-26), would use AI for online shopping assistance.

“AI will give consumers powerful tools to help them shop smarter. This includes sophisticated product discovery to find the best price, order the perfect size, and optimise and track shipping and delivery across multiple stores. But more than that, AI can deliver personalised product recommendations that suit our individual tastes and budgets. This tailored approach will help us find the ideal items while creating a more engaging and enjoyable shopping experience,” Toon added.