Europe lags behind North America in AI race

New research reveals North America leads in AI-driven product innovation but Europe seeks to make up gap with user-first approach.

  • 3 weeks ago Posted in

European product professionals are much less likely to be developing AI features than their North American counterparts, shows new research from Pendo, the all-in-one product experience platform. The People Behind the Product Survey, which collected data from over 300 product leaders across Europe and North America, found that 58% of North American businesses are implementing AI features in their products, compared to just under a third (34%) of businesses in Europe. User engagement remains an issue, though, with just 15% of product leaders across both North America and Europe reporting that users are embracing AI features.

When it comes to improving user experience and uptake of AI features, though, Europe may have an edge over North America: nearly two-thirds of European businesses say they’ve increased the size of their user experience and research teams in the past 12 months, compared to only 27% of those based in North America. This suggests European companies are placing user experience at the heart of their strategy to catch-up to North American AI innovation.

“AI has streamlined so many product processes, but to bridge the gap and begin successfully implementing AI features into our end-user products, we need to first understand what their needs are,” said Francesca Buckland, vice president of product management at Clarivate, a leading global provider of transformative intelligence. “Taking a user-led approach to developing and implementing AI features is critical for ultimately seeing widespread user adoption.”

While many businesses continue to seek new ways to improve user engagement for their AI features, the research reveals that AI is already being embraced by product managers to support their own day-to-day tasks. Over two thirds (69%) of European, and 62% of North American-based product managers say that they have embraced AI to help with their daily tasks, highlighting a disparity in their comfort level between using AI personally and building it into the products they provide to end users.

“Today’s product professionals realise the massive opportunity for AI to increase their own productivity, but fear and regulation still control the narrative around AI in many organisations, especially in Europe,” said Todd Olson, CEO and co-founder of Pendo. “It’s time to recognise the commercial potential of AI - with AI in our products, we can positively impact end user experiences and ensure our companies remain competitive in the future.”

The research reveals that almost all product professionals use third-party large language models, with the vast majority (71% of North American-based and 65% of European-based product professionals) using OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Innovation using bespoke large language models remains uncommon, with just 17% of North American and 5% of European product managers currently building AI features using their businesses’ self-trained models. 

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