1. Analysis
December 2, 2021updated 08 Feb 2022 5:35am

Artificial intelligence innovation among retail industry companies rebounded in the last quarter

By Michael Goodier

Research and innovation in artificial intelligence in the retail sector has rebounded in the last quarter.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI patent applications in the industry stood at 111 in the three months ending September – down from 120 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 83 in the three months ending September last year to 77 this year.

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The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

AI is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Walmart Inc was the top artificial intelligence innovator in the retail sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 33 AI related patents in the three months ending September. That was up from 32 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the China based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd with 21 AI patent applications, the United States based eBay Inc (13 applications), and China based JD.com Inc (12 applications).

JD.com Inc has recently ramped up R&D in artificial intelligence. It saw growth of 25% in related patent applications in the three months ending September compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the retail sector.