The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increasing e-commerce, data analytics, and supply chain management, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, facial recognition, augmented reality, and 3D imaging. 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: cosmetics recommenders. 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

Cosmetics recommenders is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Cosmetic recommenders are systems that use artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to recommend a wide range of products from haircare and skincare to make-up. The recommendation is based on the analysis of a customer’s skin type and skincare goals, making it a personalized process.

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 160+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cosmetics recommenders.

Key players in cosmetics recommenders – 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 cosmetics recommenders

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Cox Enterprises 208 Unlock Company Profile
AB Dynamics 158 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 97 Unlock Company Profile
Nant 87 Unlock Company Profile
Nintendo 85 Unlock Company Profile
Henkel 79 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 68 Unlock Company Profile
LG 66 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 65 Unlock Company Profile
Flex 64 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 63 Unlock Company Profile
Bizmodeline 62 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 62 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 58 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 57 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 57 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 48 Unlock Company Profile 44 Unlock Company Profile
Trax Technology Solutions 41 Unlock Company Profile
WebID Solutions 35 Unlock Company Profile
Shiseido 35 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
Locus Robotics 32 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 32 Unlock Company Profile
DNAnudge 28 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 27 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 25 Unlock Company Profile
EssilorLuxottica 25 Unlock Company Profile
The Allstate 25 Unlock Company Profile
Beta Bionics 21 Unlock Company Profile
MySkin 20 Unlock Company Profile
Yi Tunnel (Beijing) Technology 19 Unlock Company Profile
Chanel 17 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 17 Unlock Company Profile
Amorepacific Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton 16 Unlock Company Profile
Blast Motion 14 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 14 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 14 Unlock Company Profile
Visa 14 Unlock Company Profile
PepsiCo 13 Unlock Company Profile
Smart Eye 12 Unlock Company Profile
Kinpo Electronics 12 Unlock Company Profile
Lululemon Athletica 12 Unlock Company Profile
Adeia 12 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 12 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 11 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 11 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Freshub 11 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading players in the cosmetic recommenders space in terms of patents filed for the retail industry are Cox Enterprises, AB Dynamics, Procter & Gamble, and Nant. Procter & Gamble (P&G) uses a variety of skin analysis and cosmetic recommender systems to drive shopper engagement. In June 2023, P&G partnered with the Singapore-based online retailer, Lazada to launch ‘#HairDNA’, a microsite that answers haircare concerns of shoppers, while helping discover new products and deals that can address their concerns, with the intention of making the platform a one-stop-shop for all haircare needs. The personalized approach is also expected to ensure P&G with deeper customer engagement, while building trust in the brand to drive product penetration.

Microsoft, Beta Bionics, and Carl Zeiss Stiftung are the top companies in the cosmetics recommenders space in terms of application diversity.

By geographic reach AB Dynamics leads the pack, followed by Nintendo and Hitachi.

Integrating AI-based cosmetic recommenders is set to improve shopper experiences, drive product penetration and improve brand engagement, making it an interactive and immersive experience to shop for skincare, haircare and make-up categories, driving up sales and enhancing new product discovery. 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.