Machine Customers Are a Trillion-Dollar Opportunity

This is how you get ready.

Machine customers aren’t just coming — in a few places, they are already here. CEOs believe machine customers will account for up to 20% or more of revenue by 2030 (a trillion-dollar opportunity). This is the first book to help you take full advantage.

About the Book

For thousands of years, customers have been individual humans, families or organizations. But soon, intelligent software and hardware machines will start to act as customers. CEOs believe that by 2030, up to 20% of their companies’ revenue will come from machine customers. Machine customers will be involved in a wide range of consumer and business purchases.

Ready or not, nonhuman customers are coming. We anticipate and unpack key changes — and how your organization can tackle them.

Marketing and selling to machines will be very different.

In a machine-customer world, marketing and selling will be data-science-oriented. You can’t take machines to dinner, and they won’t fall for your advertising, but they might help grow your market share. Here’s how:

  • Sales will be largely programmatic, and the process will be automated.

  • Salespeople will still be needed but mostly for B2B and large accounts where it becomes essential to understand the human customers who are ultimately responsible for purchases.

  • Sales will need to study machine behavior, looking for patterns that could inform their sales strategy.

Machine customers will operate based on rules and logic.

Machines don’t have emotions. They will behave logically and rationally based on their programming. This means:

  • Machine customers will be more reliable than their human counterparts. 

  • Machine customers will be more likely than human customers to make efficient purchases. 

  • This will take the form of smaller product sizes (minimizing waste), substitutable products that may be geographically closer with lower shipping costs, or recommended value-added products that might be more expensive in the short run, but cheaper in the long run.

Machine customers represent a multitrillion dollar opportunity.

The potential impact is real. 

  • By 2025, there will be, conservatively, at least 15 billion connected products with the potential to behave as customers.

  • Companies such as Amazon, HP, Tesla, Bosch, Siemens, Kenmore and Sub-Zero have already taken action, with more plans to follow. 

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About the Authors

Don Scheibenreif is a Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner and a leader of Gartner’s research on customer experience. He has led the development of Gartner’s research on machine customers since 2015, and is an accomplished international keynote speaker.

Mark Raskino is a Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner Fellow and a leader of Gartner’s CEO research. He has previously worked as a senior researcher in e-business, emerging trends, digital business and CIO leadership, and has been with Gartner for 22 years, during which time he has published two books on the Gartner Hype Cycle and digital business. 

What People Are Saying

“The topics shared in ‘When Machines Become Customers’ are about some of the most important business conversations to be having today. They should provoke conversations in C-suites of companies of all sizes and be integrated at the university level.”

Ann Stone
Lecturer, UBC Sauder School of Business

“The authors suggest many approaches to ensure your business takes advantage of this powerful disruptor. It is a trend you should understand and take seriously.”

Suzanne Fogel
Associate Dean, Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University

“The age of the machine customer is coming, and with it, a major opportunity for those who can effectively be part of this new customer ecosystem. Don and Mark raise some very interesting aspects of what will be a very different, relatively near-term future.”

Adam Banks
Board Member TSB, Board Advisor, Euroclear and Rio Tinto, Former Chief Technology and Information Officer, Maersk

“My first impression was WOW, this can’t possibly be true but as I proceeded through the balance of the book Machines as Customers felt more and more real ...  all business and technology leaders would do well to pay close attention.”

John A. Gigerich
SVP Chief Information Officer, Keurig Dr Pepper Inc.

“The AI-driven customer landscape will soon be on every business leader’s agenda. 'When Machines Become Customers' is a must-read for those wanting to stay at the forefront of customer engagement in this new age.”

René Carayol
MBE - Global Executive Leadership Coach, TV Broadcaster and Author

More About Machine Customers

Featured Webinar

Your Next Growth Opportunity: Machine Customers

Be they autonomous vehicles, factory robots or refrigerators, billions of machines will soon be your customers. Join Gartner’s Don Scheibenreif and Mark Raskino for their insights on this emerging trend, and what your organization must do to both serve and benefit from nonhuman customers.