The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by security and technology, and growing importance of technologies such as blockchain, smart contracts, and cloud. 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: Transaction data blockchain.

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

Transaction data blockchain is a key innovation area in cloud

A blockchain can be defined as a distributed database, which distributes data in a digital format electronically. A blockchain stores data in the form of blocks linked together in a chain. A transaction is a transfer, contract, agreement, or exchange of assets between multiple parties. A transaction on a blockchain is the transmission of data over the computer network of a blockchain system.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of transaction data blockchain.

Key players in transaction data blockchain – 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 transaction data blockchain

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
SoftBank Group 331 Unlock company profile
nChain Holdings 52 Unlock company profile 15 Unlock company profile
Rokfin 12 Unlock company profile
eBay 11 Unlock company profile
Security Matters 8 Unlock company profile
Intensity Analytics 8 Unlock company profile
Walmart 6 Unlock company profile
Ali Group 6 Unlock company profile
CEA 5 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

In terms of patents filed, SoftBank Group, nChain,, Rokfin, and eBay are the leading companies in the transaction data blockchain space. In February 2023, SoftBank collaborated with Oasys, a global gaming blockchain, with its focus on the social implementation of Web3 and resolving social issues.

Leading players in the space in terms of application diversity are Ali Group, Security Matters, eBay, and Walmart.

In terms of geographic reach, nChain, Security Matters,, and SoftBank Group lead the space.

Transaction data blockchain in cloud computing offers several benefits such as decentralisation, enhanced data security, better ownership tracking of goods and services, scalability, and tolerance.

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


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.