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The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a number of factors including supply chain management, risk mitigation, and the growing importance of technologies such as NFTs, anonymous transaction handling and artificial intelligence. 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 Cloud: Customer behavior analytics. 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 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.

Biometric authentication, gesture-based user interfaces, and shipping management systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are user biometric authentication and instant messaging social networks, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for cloud in the retail industry

Customer behaviour analytics is a key innovation area in cloud

Customer behaviour analytics involves an exhaustive assessment of customers’ behaviour at all points of contact. By effectively conducting customer data analysis, a retail company can identify customers' demands, address them, and boost customer loyalty.

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 customer behaviour analytics.

Key players in customer behaviour analytics – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to customer behaviour analytics

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alphabet 248 Unlock Company Profile
Nant Holdings Ip 195 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 138 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 121 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 93 Unlock Company Profile
Memjet Technology 92 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 89 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 82 Unlock Company Profile
Xperi Holding 78 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 74 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 63 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 55 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 46 Unlock Company Profile
Intertrust Technologies 42 Unlock Company Profile
Pearson 41 Unlock Company Profile
Network-1 Technologies 39 Unlock Company Profile
Trax Technology Solutions 36 Unlock Company Profile
Digimarc 36 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Communications 33 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 30 Unlock Company Profile 29 Unlock Company Profile
Bluefin Labs 23 Unlock Company Profile
Nikon 23 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent Holdings 22 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 21 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 20 Unlock Company Profile
Rakuten Group 20 Unlock Company Profile
Ab Initio Software 20 Unlock Company Profile
Automattic 20 Unlock Company Profile
Kudelski 19 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 19 Unlock Company Profile
Visa 17 Unlock Company Profile
Salesforce 17 Unlock Company Profile
ResearchGATE 16 Unlock Company Profile
Evryx Acquisition 16 Unlock Company Profile
Concert Technologies  15 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 14 Unlock Company Profile
Catch Media 14 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 12 Unlock Company Profile
DNAnudge 11 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 11 Unlock Company Profile
Citigroup 11 Unlock Company Profile 10 Unlock Company Profile
Affinio 10 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 10 Unlock Company Profile
Visible World 10 Unlock Company Profile
TomTom 10 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Media 10 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 9 Unlock Company Profile
Scaled Inference 9 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading patent filers in the customer behaviour analytics space are Alphabet, Nant Holdings, and Microsoft. Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, has been utilising cutting-edge technologies like AI and ML to enhance its product and service offerings and increase customer value. To enable individualised experiences, the company has incorporated AI technology in its Pixel smartphones and Google TV to give recommendations based on a user's preferences and previous viewing history of TV shows.

In terms of application diversity, Memjet Technology, DNAnudge, Cox Enterprises, and Xperi Holding are the leading companies.

In terms of geographic reach, Ab Initio Software, DNAnudge, Nikon, and Affinio are the top players.

Customer behaviour analytics provides knowledge of which customers purchased what, when, and through which channels. It gives businesses a competitive edge by enabling them to make data-based marketing decisions.

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

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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.