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

The most recent figures show that the number of robotics related patent applications in the industry stood at 23 in the three months ending February – down from 95 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to robotics followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 37 in the three months ending February 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.

Robotics 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.

Ocado Group Plc was the top robotics innovator in the retail sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United Kingdom, filed nine robotics related patents in the three months ending February. That was down from 12 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based Inc with eight robotics patent applications, China based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (4 applications), and China based Inc (4 applications).