The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for operational efficiency and the growing importance of technologies such as autonomous vending, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. In the last three years alone, there have been over 133,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence: Demand forecasting applications. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

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 stabilising 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.

70+ 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 128,000 patents, there are 70+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous vending, skin care recommender systems, and AI-assisted surveillance are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Autonomous delivery vehicle navigation system, autonomous delivery management, and planogram modelling are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are virtual contact centre automation and checkout object identification, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the retail industry

Demand forecasting application is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

With the help of machine learning algorithms, artificial intelligence-based demand forecasting applications can enable businesses to estimate their supply chain expenses and enable them to plan for seasonal product changes accurately. Using artificial intelligence, companies can monitor their entire supply chains from product sales to inventory turnover period.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of demand forecasting.

Key players in demand forecasting applications – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry

Leading companies in the AI-powered demand forecasting space in terms of patents filed are Strong Force Iot Portfolio, SoftBank Group, Pearson, EcoSense Lighting, and Capital One Financial. With an aim to enhance its AI-based analytics capabilities, Pearson acquired Faethm, a predictive analytics and workforce AI company, in September 2021.

Leading companies in this space in terms of application diversity are DataInfoCom USA, EcoSense Lighting, Winnow Solutions, and Strong Force Iot Portfolio.

Patent volumes related to demand forecasting applications

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Strong Force Iot Portfolio 2016 158 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 85 Unlock Company Profile
Pearson 41 Unlock Company Profile
EcoSense Lighting 25 Unlock Company Profile
Capital One Financial 24 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 21 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 18 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 18 Unlock Company Profile
NIKE 18 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 17 Unlock Company Profile
Coupang 15 Unlock Company Profile
Accenture 14 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
Genetic Finance (Barbados) 12 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 9 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 9 Unlock Company Profile
DataInfoCom USA 9 Unlock Company Profile
Scaled Inference 9 Unlock Company Profile
Seven & i Holdings 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 8 Unlock Company Profile
Winnow Solutions 8 Unlock Company Profile
Mastercard 8 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 7 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 7 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 7 Unlock Company Profile
LG 7 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 7 Unlock Company Profile
PayPal Holdings 7 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 6 Unlock Company Profile 6 Unlock Company Profile
Cognizant Technology Solutions 6 Unlock Company Profile
Tokyo Electron 6 Unlock Company Profile
Naver 5 Unlock Company Profile
Netflix 5 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

By means of geographic diversity, leading companies are Genetic Finance (Barbados), Winnow Solutions, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and Tokyo Electron.

Demand forecasting using artificial intelligence has many benefits including optimised discounts and promotions, more operational efficiency, and happier customers.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence in Retail.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.