The apparel industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by rise in e-commerce, demand for convenience, and data analytics, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things and automation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 57,000 patents filed and granted in the apparel industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in apparel: body measurements AI. 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.

20+ innovations will shape the apparel industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the apparel industry using innovation intensity models built on over 36,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, insulated composite fabrics, and reflective fabrics are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. e-textiles, personalized lookbooks, and AR-assisted measurements are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are functional undergarments and breathable fabrics, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the apparel industry

Body measurements AI is a key innovation area in apparel

Body Measurements AI refers to the use of artificial intelligence to get measurements to create apparel that fits well on the wearer. Typically, body measurements AI uses computer vision techniques to analyze images and videos and identify the body reference points, just like it is done in facial recognition, to accurately measure and analyze human body parameters. It involves the extraction of body measurements from images or videos using advanced algorithms and deep learning models. These automated measurements are typically used in the apparel industry as an addition to virtual try-on services.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of body measurements AI.

Key players in body measurements AI – a disruptive innovation in the apparel 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 body measurements AI

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Walmart 141 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 79 Unlock Company Profile
Metail 56 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 45 Unlock Company Profile 28 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 26 Unlock Company Profile
Zazzle.Com 14 Unlock Company Profile
Houzz 13 Unlock Company Profile
Rakuten Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
NIKE 11 Unlock Company Profile
Henkel 10 Unlock Company Profile
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton 10 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Sensetime Technology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Artemis 9 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 9 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 9 Unlock Company Profile
Lululab 8 Unlock Company Profile
MTG 8 Unlock Company Profile
Life 8 Unlock Company Profile
Jins 8 Unlock Company Profile
Specsavers Optical Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Amorepacific Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Seiren 7 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 7 Unlock Company Profile
maxingvest 6 Unlock Company Profile
Coupang 6 Unlock Company Profile
Occipital 6 Unlock Company Profile
Omnicom Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Wacoal 4 Unlock Company Profile
Snap 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Walmart is one of the leading patent filers in body measurements AI. Zeekit, by Walmart, allows consumers to try clothing virtually in online shopping by leveraging computer vision, and advanced AI to determine the dimensions, fit, size, and fabric of the garment. This allows shoppers to get a glimpse of how they would look in a particular style. Some other key patent filers in the space include Magic Leap and Metail.

In terms of application diversity, Magic Leap leads the pack, while Walmart and maxingvest are in the second and third positions, respectively.

By means of geographic reach, Walmart held the top position, followed by Metail and Magic Leap.

As artificial intelligence technologies progress, the prospects of body measurements AI in apparel is also set to expand, enhancing opportunities for personalization, helping retailers add more clothing customizations, and increasing the number of virtual fitting rooms.

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

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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.