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

The most recent figures show that the number of related patent applications in the industry stood at 699 in the three months ending May – down from 1221 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 1281 in the three months ending May 2021 to 1154 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.

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 innovator in the retail sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in China, filed 360 related patents in the three months ending May. That was down from 540 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based Inc with 119 patent applications, China based Inc (119 applications), and the United States based eBay Inc (44 applications).

China Tobacco International HK Co Ltd has recently ramped up R&D in . It saw growth of 63.6% in related patent applications in the three months ending May compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the retail sector.