The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by desire for convenience and efficiency, and the growing importance of technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and automation. 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 in Retail: Shipping management systems.
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
Shipping management systems is a key innovation area in cloud
Shipping management systems that are cloud-based can be used to streamline the whole process from raising an order to its successful delivery. Companies can achieve enhanced automation and data centralisation, by increasing data efficiency.
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 shipping management systems.
Key players in shipping management systems – 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 shipping management systems
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|United Parcel Service||209||Unlock company profile|
|Nuro||113||Unlock company profile|
|International Business Machines||34||Unlock company profile|
|FedEx||33||Unlock company profile|
|Coupang||26||Unlock company profile|
|Canadian National Railway||25||Unlock company profile|
|Uber Technologies||21||Unlock company profile|
|Toyota Motor||21||Unlock company profile|
|Expedia Group||20||Unlock company profile|
|Amadeus IT Group||19||Unlock company profile|
|Amazon.com||19||Unlock company profile|
|Booking Holdings||18||Unlock company profile|
|Ferguson||17||Unlock company profile|
|Live Nation Entertainment||16||Unlock company profile|
|Indigo Agriculture||14||Unlock company profile|
|Ocado Group||13||Unlock company profile|
|Stamps.com||13||Unlock company profile|
|Fedex Supply Chain Logistics & Electronics||13||Unlock company profile|
|eBay||12||Unlock company profile|
|Crawford Group||10||Unlock company profile|
|United States Postal Service||9||Unlock company profile|
|SoftBank Group||8||Unlock company profile|
|Didi Global||8||Unlock company profile|
|Trip.com Group||7||Unlock company profile|
|Fly Victor||7||Unlock company profile|
|Comcast||7||Unlock company profile|
|Apollo Global Management||6||Unlock company profile|
|Splitty Travel||6||Unlock company profile|
|Huawei Investment & Holding||5||Unlock company profile|
|Capital One Financial||5||Unlock company profile|
|Ticketmaster Entertainment||5||Unlock company profile|
|US Postal Service||5||Unlock company profile|
|FlyBuy Technologies||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
In terms of patents filed, United Parcel Service, Nuro, International Business Machines, FedEx, and Coupang are the leading players in the cloud-based shipping management systems space. In September 2022, Coupang, a South-Korean online retailer, announced its partnership with ShipStation, a cloud-based online retail shipping solution.
In terms of application diversity, FedEx, Nuro, Ticketmaster Entertainment, Huawei Investment & Holding, and eBay are the leading players in this space.
In terms of geographic reach, FlyBuy Technologies, US Postal Service, Coupang, and Ocado Group are the leading players.
Automation, cost reduction, real-time monitoring, and enhanced visibility are key benefits of these solutions.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing in Retail.