Research and innovation in big data in the retail sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of big data related patent applications in the industry stood at 19 in the three months ending June – down from 55 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to big data followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 86 in the three months ending June 2021 to 34 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Big data is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd was the top big data innovator in the retail sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in China, filed 7 big data related patents in the three months ending June. That was down from 25 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based Inc with 6 big data patent applications, China based Inc (2 applications), and the United States based Groupon Inc (1 applications).