Announcing The Customer Data Platform Report 2021

Peter Reinhardt on February 9th 2021

Today, we’re excited to share the findings of our second annual Customer Data Platform Report

By analyzing the anonymized usage data from Segment’s 20,000+ customers, it tells a wild story about the accelerated pace of digital adoption over the past 12 months. 

On the back of COVID-19, we’ve witnessed digital acceleration like never before. In a few short months, every business has become an internet business. Every business is expected to engage customers across multiple channels, and manage the vast quantities of customer data that comes from each.

As this unprecedented explosion of data and digital adoption continues, customer data platforms have been thrust into the mainstream, becoming the foundational element for digital-first businesses.

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened.

From billions to trillions: the exponential rise of customer data

The volume, velocity, and variety of data being tracked across organizations nearly doubled in 2020. To illustrate, in December 2019, Segment was processing nearly 500 billion events a month. By the end of 2020, that number had grown to over 1 trillion.

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A steady supply of quality, high-velocity first-party data that easily integrates into existing systems, is the lifeblood of any digital business. In 2020, we are proud to have been able to help 20,000+ customers do this, at an unprecedented scale.

Bigger and better tech stacks

Segment has a unique vantage point in that it both collects data from hundreds of sources and sends it to a variety of tools. This affords us a behind-the-scenes look into the tools and technologies companies are using the most. 

In 2020, the average number of apps used by customers on the Segment platform increased by more than 30%, from 8 in 2019 to 11 in 2020. This growth was particularly pronounced amongst our enterprise customers, who used an average of 14 apps in 2020.

We can also see which apps businesses doubled down on in the wake of the pandemic. Advertising, email, and customer success tools all benefited from significant tailwinds in 2020.

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A customer and company-centric approach to data management

Historically, customer data management has been “channel-centric”. Data was collected and organized according to the channel where it was created (email, call center, etc), and kept in siloed, inaccessible databases.

In 2020, the shortcomings of this approach become visibly apparent. 

Customers hopped from channel to channel like never before. In-person, 1:1 transactions were replaced by asynchronous, omnichannel experiences. A single retail customer could click on a Facebook ad, talk with the sales team via email, use live chat to connect with the support team, and much more.

Additionally, remote work highlighted the operational inefficiencies of having data spread across disparate systems and functions throughout an organization.

This year’s report gives us unparalleled insight into the way customers interact across channels, and how businesses are building a unified view of the customer journey.

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While none of us can predict what lies ahead in the coming months, we’re confident the increasingly digital-first nature of customer engagement will continue apace.

For a deeper look into our findings, you can read the full report here.

What will your tech stack look like in 2030?

In our new report, we surveyed over 4,000 customer data decision-makers to gauge current and future predictions for the customer data industry.

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