The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by data analytics, e-commerce, and supply chain risk management and the growing importance of technologies such as augmented, virtual and mixed reality, among other AI-based technologies. In the last three years alone, there have been over 59,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in retail: location-based personalization. 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 126,000 patents, there are 50+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, AR-assisted shopping, planogram optimization, on-demand digital mfg are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Self-checkout, personalized lookbooks, location-based personalization are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are video commerce and in-store shopping assistance, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the retail industry

Location-based personalization is a key innovation area in retail

Location-based personalization allows retailers to use technologies that tap into the location of a customer’s smartphone to create targeted and localized campaigns, to alert shoppers to deals in the vicinity, provide location-based relevant information such as products and pricing, as well as generate personalized recommendations based on shopping preferences in and around the location.

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 145+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of location-based personalization.

Key players in location-based personalization – 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 location-based personalization

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
PayPal 6 Unlock Company Profile
RPG Enterprises 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel 20 Unlock Company Profile
OPTIMUM 7 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 56 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 12 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 24 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 61 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 209 Unlock Company Profile
Flex 65 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 23 Unlock Company Profile
Capital One Financial 6 Unlock Company Profile
Thryv 4 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 46 Unlock Company Profile
TomTom 69 Unlock Company Profile
Bank of America 17 Unlock Company Profile
TDK 9 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 11 Unlock Company Profile
Target 5 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 8 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 6 Unlock Company Profile
SK 7 Unlock Company Profile
AOL 3 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced New Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile 21 Unlock Company Profile
LG 9 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 18 Unlock Company Profile
BC Partners 3 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 192 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 5 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 51 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 17 Unlock Company Profile
Trax Technology Solutions 29 Unlock Company Profile
Didi Global 16 Unlock Company Profile
Vulog 4 Unlock Company Profile
RideCell 5 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 4 Unlock Company Profile
Nio 57 Unlock Company Profile
Gogoro 307 Unlock Company Profile
Nuro 226 Unlock Company Profile
Signify 4 Unlock Company Profile
Emerging Automotive 72 Unlock Company Profile
Eclipse Ip 12 Unlock Company Profile
Rtc Industries 13 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 20 Unlock Company Profile
Plunkett's Pest Control 4 Unlock Company Profile 9 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading players in the location-based personalization space in terms of patents filed are Gogoro, Nuro, Cox Enterprises, Walmart and Emerging Automotive. Walmart recently updated its app and site to provide location-based product recommendation based on what’s trending in the area, while being personalized to each shopper’s preferences.

Gogoro is the leading company in location-based personalization in terms of application diversity, while OPTIMUM and Cox Enterprises are in the second and third positions respectively.

By geographic reach, Nuro leads the pack, followed by Nio and TomTom.

The prospects of location-based personalization are set to expand with technological improvements, allowing retailers to provide real-time updates based on location and shopping habits as well as generate geo-targeted engagement initiatives and marketing campaigns using predictive analysis.

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