There’s no shortage of experts predicting how technology will impact our lives by the year 2020. But what does the average consumer expect by 2020?

In a new report, “State of the Connected Customer,” Salesforce Research surveyed over 4,700 consumers globally to understand how their customer experience expectations are changing. The complete findings are covered in the full report (free to download), but this post highlights three ways consumers expect smarter customer experiences in the future.

1) By 2020, 51% of consumers expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before customer contact. Click to tweet:

In plain speak, that means half of your customers want you to know what they need possibly before they even know it themselves. For example, if a customer purchased tires from you, they may expect a notice when it’s time for a tire rotation, along with an oil change discount or special offer for winterizing their vehicle.

Those expectations for timely, personalized offers only increase when we take the Internet of Things (IoT) into account. In fact, 72% of Millennials and 58% of Gen Xers say that smart/connected vehicles will have a major or moderate impact on their daily personal life by 2020.  

2) 58% of consumers predict that products will automatically self-diagnose and correct problems by 2020. Click to tweet:

This may sound like a tall order, but with the swarm of innovation happening around IoT, it’s entirely plausible. For example, imagine your home water filtration system identifies when there’s a change in water pressure; it could then identify next steps needed — whether that means triggering an email to the company that installed it, or sending you a text message directly with a link to purchase a replacement part.

Seventy-seven percent of Millennials and 63% of GenXers say smart/connected appliances will have a major or moderate impact on their daily personal life by 2020.  

3) 79% of Millennials say paying with a mobile device will have a major or moderate impact on their daily personal life by 2020. Click to tweet:

As to be expected, always-on millennials — whose influence and purchasing power have yet to peak — are leading the charge with future expectations that tap into new waves of smart technologies. Millennials (and their true digital-native successors, Gen Z) will continue to wield considerable cultural influence and purchasing power well into the future, when the internet of things (IoT) and virtual and augmented reality will be as common as smartphones.

Bonus fun fact: 85% of top marketing teams implementing loT-based marketing say their results are effective or very effective at helping create a cohesive customer journey.

This finding comes from another Salesforce Research report, “State of Marketing,” published earlier this year.

For more data-driven insights, browse all reports at