Over the past half year, bots have been a widely discussed topic. Experts and the media heavily discussed all the possible benefits, the future, and the value bots could create for businesses and consumers. Arguably, the tipping point was Facebook’s F8 conference in April. Since then, many developers and consumers have massively experimented with bots and tested their limits to find the most suitable use cases for bots.

During this trend, the U.S. market has proven to be highly interested in bots. Several published surveys are showing strong U.S. bot companies, as you can see in VentureBeat’s Bots Landscape. But Europe is not far behind.

Bots Landscape Europe

Above: This article is part of the Bots Landscape series. (Disclosure: VB Profiles is a cooperative effort between VentureBeat and Spoke Intelligence.)

Image Credit: VBProfiles

You can download a high-resolution version of the European Bots Landscape here.

While bots and systems that benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) and recurrent neural networks are not exactly new, in 2016, almost all the big players increased their investments in AI and machine learning systems. Some companies such as Bosch are setting up their own departments for such technologies. The increasing interest and importance is also reflected in the job market, where more and more companies are explicitly looking for machine learning specialists.

The chatbot market in Europe

Even though the U.S. has taken the lead, the future for bots in Europe looks bright too. The European Bots Landscape focuses particularly on the chatbot market to underscore this. Previous landscapes show that the U.S. has been quick to invest in this new chatbot market. Many startups have emerged to build a great array of chatbot services and bots. Yet, despite a somewhat reserved stance in the first few months after the Facebook F8 conference, Europe has recognized the value of chatbots. To shed some light on Europe and get a better understanding of the European market, the European Bots Landscape covers the most popular bots and bot companies active in the European market.

The greatest similarities and differences

This list is self-evident but not exhaustive. There are a lot more bots and bot companies in the market, of course. Almost every week new startups are emerging, and other bot companies might still be in stealth mode. Therefore, we focused on the most popular ones among European users. Comparing this landscape with a few global bot landscapes, you quickly get an impression of some differences and similarities between Europe, the U.S., and the rest of the world and where the path for Europe might lead in this sector.

Fewer personal assistant bots, more productivity bots

Looking at the ratio of bots created in the different categories and comparing them with global landscapes, it becomes obvious that there are fewer personal assistant bots in the European market than in the U.S. That may be due to the quicker market entry of U.S. companies. Especially after Facebook’s announcement, there have been quite a number of chatbots and AI-related robot startups popping up.

But it’s not only startups that see the great potential in the market. VCs and angel investors have also seen the opportunities — and spent a lot of capital. This may have given the U.S. competitors a little bit of a first-mover advantage. At the same time, we see that European companies have focused a little more on chatbots that enhance productivity, security, and communication. The market for this category also seems larger, with an almost endless number of use cases.

An analytics-focused trend and the future of Europe

Taking a closer look at the analytics service providers in this industry, we have seen a great array of European companies entering the chatbot market with a focus on analytics. These analytical services zero in on the end-consumer behavior and interactions with chatbots. The interactions and consumer data (Facebook profiles, e.g.) gained through analytics are incredibly valuable for companies to be able to better segment and target marketing campaigns.

This trend has not come by accident. Already now, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France are among the top 10 commerce markets globally with tremendous growth predictions. In 2013, according to Digital River, 52 percent of the German population purchased goods and services online. Additionally, studies show that up to 20 percent of those German online purchases were made on mobile devices. That’s a huge opportunity.

Moreover, due to the pressure to cut costs, Europe will be “expected to witness a significant demand for chatbots.”

All in all, there are many good reasons for European companies and VCs to invests in chatbots. The ecommerce markets in Europe will experience steep growth curves, mobile devices have become more important for that market than ever, and hence chatbots are a natural outgrowth for serving these customers.

Wherever the path will lead Europe in this market, European companies are showing their potential and are well able to take up the challenge against their U.S. and global competitors.