The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by personalized shopping experience, and technology, and the growing importance of technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and augmented and virtual reality. In the last three years alone, there have been over 156,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in retail: 3D garment modeling. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

50+ innovations will shape the retail industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the retail industry using innovation intensity models built on over 115,000 patents, there are 50+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, cosmetics recommenders, 3D garment modeling, and in-store theft monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. In-store product recognition, personalized recommendation AI, and smart checkout are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is automated object recognition, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the retail industry

3D garment modeling is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

3D garment modeling involves utilizing specialized 3D modeling software to craft digital versions of garments. These digital models serve the purpose of visualizing the appearance and fit of a garment on specific body types, enabling necessary adjustments to be made before physical manufacturing.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 140+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of 3D garment modeling.

Key players in 3D garment modeling – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.  

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to 3D garment modeling

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
eBay 88 Unlock Company Profile
Metail 72 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 67 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 61 Unlock Company Profile 60 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 57 Unlock Company Profile
LG 34 Unlock Company Profile
EcoSense Lighting 34 Unlock Company Profile 32 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Zazzle.Com 28 Unlock Company Profile
Ganz 26 Unlock Company Profile
Videri 25 Unlock Company Profile
Houzz 24 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 22 Unlock Company Profile 21 Unlock Company Profile
Crisalix 20 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 19 Unlock Company Profile
Capital One Financial 18 Unlock Company Profile
Adeia 16 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Faith 15 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 14 Unlock Company Profile
Snap 14 Unlock Company Profile
Marxent Labs 13 Unlock Company Profile
Levi Strauss 12 Unlock Company Profile
Leap Tools 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
MISUMI Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault 10 Unlock Company Profile
Bit Body 9 Unlock Company Profile
Archidraw 8 Unlock Company Profile
Jins 8 Unlock Company Profile
Carvana 8 Unlock Company Profile
Fidelity National Information Services 8 Unlock Company Profile
Specsavers Optical Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
swatchbook 7 Unlock Company Profile
CLO Virtual Fashion 7 Unlock Company Profile
Spreadtrum Communications (Shanghai) 7 Unlock Company Profile
Minted 7 Unlock Company Profile
Seiren 7 Unlock Company Profile
Gemvara 6 Unlock Company Profile
COLOPL 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kimberly-Clark 6 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 6 Unlock Company Profile
1-800 Contacts 6 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Motors 6 Unlock Company Profile
Cimpress 5 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading patent filers in the 3D garment modeling space include eBay, Metail, Magic Leap, and Microsoft. The American e-commerce company eBay uses advanced 3D garment modeling technology to generate digital representations of its products, allowing for visual assessments of how a garment appears and fits on specific body types. It also detects modification gestures, enhancing the overall shopping experience for customers.

In terms of application diversity, Adeia leads the pack, while Magic Leap and Microsoft stand in the second and third positions, respectively.

By geographic reach, Carl Zeiss Stiftung held the top spot, followed by EcoSense Lighting and Magic Leap.

A major advantage of 3D garment modeling is that it enables to create precise digital replicas of garments, facilitating detailed design adjustments and minimizing production waste. Additionally, it helps consumers visualize how a garment will appear and fit, significantly enhancing the online shopping experience, and reducing the possibility of returns. To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Retail and Apparel.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.