Each year, Forrester analysts make bold predictions about what the next 12 months will bring. It’s a swing-for-the-fences moment at a company known for swinging for the fences. To prepare for the launch of our 2024 Predictions on October 24, 2023, Forrester analysts got together to discuss whether our predictions for 2023 came true. Below are some of our hits and misses. But before you dive in, make sure to sign up to be the first to know when Forrester’s Predictions 2024 drops.
The prediction: Ten percent of Fortune 500 enterprises will generate content with AI tools.
The reality: We blew this one out of the water. We correctly predicted that the use of AI tools would rapidly expand in 2023, even though ChatGPT hadn’t yet come onto the scene when we made this prediction. ChatGPT served as a forcing function, pushing even more organizations to try AI tools.
Forrester’s AI Pulse Survey, 2023, indicated that 52% of enterprises have an enterprise-wide generative AI (genAI) strategy: 29% of these enterprises are in the experimentation phase, meaning they’ve started dabbling in genAI; a further third have progressed to the expansion phase, with concrete plans to expand the use of generative AI.
The prediction: The downturn will change payment habits, catching one in five payment pros out.
The reality: The pandemic rapidly shifted consumers toward digital payments. Touchless options were adopted by consumers seeking additional security and convenience, and many expected this to be a one-way street. We correctly predicted that the pendulum would swing back as the economy softened and cash would make a comeback. But we also knew the story wouldn’t be that simple: As individuals’ liquidity dwindled, more would turn to short-term credit to bridge gaps in their finances. This two-pronged shift would inevitably catch some payment providers off guard.
This indeed came to pass. UK Finance reported this month that cash use rose for the first time in a decade as people used it to manage their budgets, while credit card debt in the US hit $1 trillion for the first time. These market stresses and shifts caught many by surprise; as a result, digital payment giants like PayPal and SoFi have trimmed their workforces in 2023.
The prediction: Three times as many CMOs will make customer health a top priority.
The reality: The results lean toward a hit, but with caveats. In 2022, only 11% of B2B marketing decision-makers said that their CMO dashboard featured a customer health score. We saw that 2023’s macroeconomic picture looked cloudy. Retaining current customers becomes more important in tough times, so we predicted this would shift the focus of B2B marketing leaders toward retention, upsell, and cross-sell.
This dynamic did come to pass, but, to use a baseball metaphor, we hit a single instead of a home run. According to our 2023 survey data, the percentage of CMO dashboards that include a customer health score has increased to 17% — a 55% year-over-year increase. We’re hopeful that this trend will continue as more B2B marketers understand the value of keeping customers happy and successful.
Media & Advertising
The prediction: Streaming consolidates as Disney will wholly own the Hulu and Viacom platform merge.
The reality: We identified the stressors correctly, but not the response. Subscription fatigue has set in, and there are huge costs associated with producing or acquiring content that brings in fresh audiences. This points to incoming consolidation among streamers. We’re seeing evidence of that: The standalone SHOWTIME app will close by the end of 2023 and be fully consolidated into Paramount+.
However, Disney hasn’t (yet) gained full ownership of Hulu, although the move is still very much on the cards. As recently as July 2023, Disney’s Bob Iger said that full ownership of Hulu is a priority. Currently, Comcast maintains its minority stake in the platform.
The prediction: The number of European “active green” consumers will increase by 50%.
The reality: The number of active green consumers did increase, but not by 50%. Environmentally conscious products typically cost more, and in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and high inflation, many consumers didn’t feel they had budgetary grace to go green. This may change when and if inflation moderates. Money-saving green behaviors that took off during the pandemic — like cycling instead of driving — have retained their popularity.
The prediction: One-third of point solution CX tech providers will get acquired by platform players.
The reality: GenAI came in like a wrecking ball. It’s hard to believe, but ChatGPT hadn’t even launched when we wrote this prediction last fall. Now, platform players aren’t as concerned about acquiring point solution providers in order to pick up new capabilities; they’re focusing on incorporating genAI into their platform.
What’s Next For 2024?
Our predictions for 2024 will weigh in on trending and critical topics. Here’s a preview of what we’ll cover: genAI, the future of work, sustainability, trust, and robotics. We’ll also explore the shifting dynamics of stalwart topics such as customer experience, cybersecurity, marketing, and software development. Be the first to discover our predictions for 2024. Sign up to get alerted the second Predictions 2024 goes live.