The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by e-commerce, data analytics, and supply chain management, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, and augmented reality 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: voice commerce. 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 modelling, 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

Voice commerce is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Voice commerce is the use of voice recognition technology to streamline e-commerce transactions, enabling users to engage with voice assistants or chatbots through spoken language rather than text-based interactions.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of voice commerce.

Key players in voice commerce – 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 voice commerce

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Walmart 160 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 60 Unlock Company Profile 54 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 52 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 50 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 34 Unlock Company Profile
Promptu 34 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 26 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 22 Unlock Company Profile
Legend 22 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 20 Unlock Company Profile
NCR 19 Unlock Company Profile
Unlikely Artificial Intelligence 18 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 18 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 16 Unlock Company Profile
Mastercard 14 Unlock Company Profile
aisle411 13 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 13 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 12 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 12 Unlock Company Profile 11 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 11 Unlock Company Profile 11 Unlock Company Profile
SoundHound AI 10 Unlock Company Profile
Brain Technologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Jetson AI 8 Unlock Company Profile
VB Assets 8 Unlock Company Profile
Bank of America 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 7 Unlock Company Profile
East West Manufacturing 6 Unlock Company Profile
Soham 6 Unlock Company Profile
24/7 Customer 6 Unlock Company Profile
KT 6 Unlock Company Profile
Didi Global 6 Unlock Company Profile
Wipro 6 Unlock Company Profile
Naver 6 Unlock Company Profile
Rakuten Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 5 Unlock Company Profile
LG 5 Unlock Company Profile
Target 4 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Connected 4 Unlock Company Profile
Qinghai Woaisi Intelligent Technology 4 Unlock Company Profile
ConverseNow Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Haier Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
JPMorgan Chase 4 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 4 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading patent filers in the voice commerce space include Microsoft, Panasonic, Amazon, and Walmart.

Amazon is focused on pushing Alexa for deeper customer engagement via new tools for sellers. At the recently concluded Amazon Accelerate conference for independent sellers, Amazon unveiled a new feature for Alexa that enables the system to provide relevant ads that connect users to the seller pages based on a query.

 In terms of application diversity, Walmart, Microsoft, and Soham are the leading companies.

By geographic reach, Promptu leads the pack, while Walmart and aisle411 are in the second and third positions, respectively.

Voice commerce enables quick, convenient and effective ways for shoppers to seek product information and receive personalized recommendations through voice interactions. Voice commerce devices and platforms often guide users to seller or brand pages to gain expert input on product queries, enabling shoppers to make informed purchase decisions. 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.