E-personalisation returns

Survey predicts that investment in online personalisation will more than quadruple over the next five years, driven by PDAs and iTV

The moribund online personalisation market is about to make a comeback, according to a report by Datamonitor.

Datamonitor predicts that recording consumer behaviour or preferences and responding in real time, by individualising company interactions with the user, is set to become a key differentiator in dealing with customers, not only over the Internet but also via mobile devices and interactive television (iTV) services.

Datamonitor says that global investment in personalisation technologies will grow from $500m (£342m) in 2001 to $2.1bn (£1.44bn) by 2006. The UK is Europe’s biggest investor in personalisation technologies, followed by Germany then France.

According to the report, North America accounts for the lion’s share of investment, generating 67 per cent of personalisation revenues, thanks to its lead in-commerce and customer relationship management technologies. Europe accounts for 25 per cent of global investment and the UK leads with seven per cent, followed by Germany (six per cent) and France (five per cent).

Despite considerably smaller economies, Scandinavian countries account for 13 per cent of the European market, owing to the advanced state of telecommunications and Internet usage in that region.

Financial services and retail are the prime adopters of personalisation technologies, the report argues, together accounting for about 50 per cent of the combined North American and European market in 2001. Internet banking and-tailing, with clear applications for personalisation, are the driving force behind this early adoption.

Telecommunications and entertainment follow. Datamonitor says that, although currently limited to the Internet, the development of wireless devices (mobile phones and PDAs) and interactive television will create needs and boost demand for personalisation software.

Privacy is the hottest non-technological issue affecting personalisation. While the US operates on a self-regulatory basis, European countries have considerably more stringent legislation regulating the use of customer information. Moreover, concern over privacy is mounting in the US and a change in self-regulation or government legislation is likely.

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