The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by personalization, convenience, and technology, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. 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: skin care 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

Skincare recommender systems are a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

A skincare recommendation system is an innovation that provides personalized skincare and cosmetic formulas for consumers. Artificial intelligence-based skincare recommendation systems give better recommendations as they gather more information about customers’ personal preferences.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of skincare recommender systems.

Key players in skincare recommender systems – 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 skincare recommender systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Henkel 46 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 45 Unlock Company Profile
Bizmodeline 43 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 34 Unlock Company Profile
LG 18 Unlock Company Profile
Shiseido 14 Unlock Company Profile
Unilever 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
Chanel 10 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kinpo Electronics 9 Unlock Company Profile
maxingvest 6 Unlock Company Profile
Milbon 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 4 Unlock Company Profile
Revieve 4 Unlock Company Profile
Aquavit Pharmaceuticals 3 Unlock Company Profile
LYCL 2 Unlock Company Profile
Amorepacific Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Perfect (Taiwan) 2 Unlock Company Profile
Beautiful Mind 1 Unlock Company Profile
Atomy 1 Unlock Company Profile
Cosmecca Korea 1 Unlock Company Profile
Jeju Technopark 1 Unlock Company Profile
Snap 1 Unlock Company Profile
Haier Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
Haier Smart Home 1 Unlock Company Profile
IL Science 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading players in the AI-based skincare recommendation systems space in terms of patents filed are Henkel, Procter & Gamble, Bizmodeline, L'Oreal, Shiseido, and Unilever. In 2020, L'Oreal unveiled an AI-based 6.5-inch device that provides personalized on-the-spot cosmetic and skincare formulae. It’s an at-home system that consists of a streamlined four-step process. These formulae become more and more personalized over time as the device gathers more data about the consumer’s skincare preferences.

Leading players in the space in terms of application diversity are Aquavit Pharmaceuticals, Amorepacific Group, and Procter & Gamble.

Leading players in terms of geographic reach are Unilever, Sony Group, Shiseido, and LG.

Consumers are increasingly becoming more interested in skincare fueled by the focus on health and self-care during the pandemic.  However, as different people have different skin types, personalized skincare will grow in momentum in the coming years.

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.