Navigating the Generative AI Wave: Consumer Trends and Industry Impact

Gen AI is here to stay and becoming a part of our reality beyond its applications in business processes. But what do consumers feel about Gen AI now that it has been brought to the forefront of their attention? 
26 June 2024
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Global Thought Leadership Director, Media

Ecem Erdem

Global Creative Thought Leadership Manager

Generative AI has been a hot topic since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT for public use in November 2022. Every sector is looking into ways of incorporating AI into their processes, including improving efficiency or inspiring creativity, and media is still abuzz with discussion and controversy around the topic. In May 2023, it went as far as Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild going into strike over labour disputes, including the use of generative AI in the industry. But what do consumers feel about Gen AI now that it is been brought to the forefront of their attention, and is being more and more widely used in every aspect of their life?

Search topics in AI

Using Kantar’s TrendEvaluate, we investigated the world’s biggest database of interests and intentions search results and looked at the past five years – the result was that AI is indeed a significant interest for consumers. It is now searched for as much as broad fundamental tech topics like “internet,” “personal computer” or “video game.” Between April 2023 and April 2024, search queries for AI grew a whopping 184%, with over 140 million searches on average per month. To compare with another recent tech topic, interest in the metaverse has waxed and waned quickly. In the same period, searches about the metaverse declined over 60%, down to 1.3 million searches per month, and they continue to decline in the shorter term.

Search trend for the topic 'Artificial Intelligence'gen ai

ChatGPT is a particularly popular query dominating the search results. But what’s interesting is that even in this field, fragmentation is rapidly taking place, with new platforms coming into play. And consumers, too, are already going beyond the basics. Searches around other platforms like Copilot (also as Bing AI,) Gemini (also for its former name Bard,) and Janitor AI are increasing at high rates.

The consumer interest in content creation through AI has been especially significant for art recently, as search on AI art has gone up by 90% between April 2023 and April 2024, the highest growth within the AI & tech area. Overall, the average volume is around 2.4 million queries per month in the specific area of generative AI. Top keywords for image generators include “bing image creator,” “midjourney,” “ai image generator”.

Other highly searched-for areas in the field include “internet bot” at nearly 13 million searches on average per month, “plagiarism” at 6 million, “chatbot” at 4.7 million, and “deep learning” at 1.5 million, with searches for “internet bot” on a downward trend, as people start to understand more about the topic and make more specific, detailed searches.

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So what do all these numbers mean?


  • First off, consumers are interested in generative AI. They are looking it up often, and their knowledge on the topic is increasing as the searches use more specific terms over time.

  • Secondly, there are opportunities to be spotted here; TrendEvaluate data show us that people are interested in increasing their efficiency through methods like AI art generation, cobots (collaborative robots that work with humans and learn through AI and machine learning algorithms) or intelligent agents. This suggests an openness to the use of Gen AI in general.

  • Thirdly, there are concerns. As AI tools have continued to improve and become more accessible to the public, the question of whether AI-generated material can be considered authentic has also been a prominent topic. For instance, educational institutions around the world have enacted policies around the usage of Gen AI for students, and the art world is concerned with the potential of their work being replicated by AI. We see this reflected in Google search results, with people looking up keywords like “plagiarism checker” and “AI detector.” “Plagiarism remover” as a search topic has gone up by 25% between April 2023 and 2024.

What does all this mean for the advertising industry?

While efficiency vs. effectiveness is an important discussion when it comes to navigating Gen AI as a new tool for the creative side of the business, some are worried it might stifle creativity. Under Armour’s recent AI-powered ad “Forever is made now” is an example of this. While many are impressed and excited by witnessing the capabilities of AI in generating creative work, there is also controversy around whether it’s fair to creators whose works feed into the database without any credit.

Privacy and protection

Just as creative industries are concerned about copyright issues due to public data being used for training AI models, consumers are also concerned about how their information is used in AI related systems. Topics like ‘personal data’, ‘general data protection regulation’, and ‘information privacy’ are topics that consumers seek to get more information on.

Objectivity and equitable AI

When AI produces content, people worry about its originality and proper citation, and about its objectivity. Algorithmic bias in AI means that the results are skewed by human biases that affect the initial training data or AI algorithm. Kantar’s Trend Evaluate shows that the interest in algorithmic bias as a topic grew by almost 50% in the last six months, even though search volumes were relatively low. This tells us that people are becoming more aware of the need for equitable AI, and they want to learn more about how algorithmic bias impacts creative and tech fields.

Attitudes towards AI

While search figures give us an understanding of what is popular, there is more to it than that from the eyes of the consumer. They might be curious, but are they positive towards generative AI? According to Kantar’s Media Reactions 2023 study, 93% of consumers globally are aware of Gen AI, and 52% feel positive towards the possibilities of it, with only 17% feeling particularly negative. In another study conducted by Kantar in the US in 2023, 68% said they have no problem with AI-generated content being used in advertising, although 41% wanted to be notified about AI involvement. Product images are at the top of the AI-generated content type people would be open to see in advertising with 47% acceptance rate, while 37% feel human images would be alright to create with Gen AI. Only 18% are open to the idea if it’s a celebrity. Consumers seem ready to integrate Gen AI into their lives and the concerns, while still there, don’t hold them back from wanting it to better their lives, whether personally or professionally.

The views that consumers hold on generative AI pave the way for further opportunities for marketers. Marketers are already on board, with 67% globally already feeling positive about AI and starting to use it in their work and behind the scenes to create efficiencies. Understanding consumers’ perspectives will bring a better focus on what is welcome, and about what areas consumers still need education. We are only at the beginning of this journey where generative AI has become a household term, and it is essential to understand what intentions and attitudes lie beyond the search bar.

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