xConnect is a key component of a XP Sitecore implementation, however it may be overkill for your personalization needs. Starting with Sitecore 10.0.0, Sitecore XM offers some base personalization options depending if you implemented XP with CMS Only Mode or just deployed a scaled XM build.
In Sitecore 9.3, it stated the following:
If you used the Sitecore XM Scaled topology packages to install Sitecore XM, no personalization conditions are available and you cannot implement any personalizationhttps://doc.sitecore.com/en/users/93/sitecore-experience-platform/the-personalization-conditions.html
However, in 10x, a new world of options are opened up:
If you used the Sitecore XM Scaled topology packages to install Sitecore XM, a smaller set of personalization conditions are available as part of in-session personalization.https://doc.sitecore.com/en/users/100/sitecore-experience-platform/the-personalization-conditions.html
What is nice about the 10x document, is that it provides a detailed chart of which personalization options are available with either XM or XP with CMS Only Mode. Review all the personalization options at: https://doc.sitecore.com/en/users/100/sitecore-experience-platform/the-personalization-conditions.html
What About the Future?
With the acquisition of Boxever… and integration of Boxever as the Sitecore Customer Data Platform, you could baseline your implementation with XM using the in session personalization and extend it, if you desire more robust marketing capabilities, with the Customer Data Platform. Will this mean the end of xConnect as Sitecore moves to be more of a composable CMS with extensions/APIs acting like legos to your base Sitecore implementation? Time will tell…