Internet of things: Boom or bust? 

Internet of things deals, jobs and patents have been booming over the past few years. But is the apparel sector keeping up?

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The apparel industry is seeing changes in internet of things investment across several key metrics, according to an analysis of GlobalData figures.

Internet of things is one of the key themes across global industries, with top companies around the world completing internet of things deals, hiring for internet of things roles and mentioning it in company reports at the start of 2021.

GlobalData's thematic approach to sector activity seeks to group key company information on hiring, deals, patents and more by topic to see which industries are best placed to weather the disruptions coming their way.

These themes, which include internet of things, are best thought of as "any issue that keeps a CEO awake at night," and by tracking them, it becomes possible to ascertain which companies are leading the way on specific issues and which are dragging their heels.

Hiring patterns within the apparel sector as a whole are pointing towards an increase in the level of attention being shown to roles related to internet of things. There were 1,562 actively advertised-for open apparel roles within the industry in the second quarter of this year, up from 538 in the same quarter last year.

It is also apparent from an analysis of keyword mentions in financial filings that internet of things is occupying the minds of apparel companies to a lesser extent.

Internet of things was mentioned in five company reports of the biggest apparel companies in Q2 2021. This figure represents a decrease compared to the same period in 2019, when 25 industry filings mentioned internet of things.

Internet of things is decreasingly fueling innovation in the apparel sector. There were, on average, 84 apparel patents related to internet of things granted in the second quarter of 2019. That figure has fallen to 17 patents in the last quarter of 2020.

Overall, 2,142 of the subsidiaries owned by the pharmaceutical MNCs in the database were located in the same country as the parent company was headquartered. This meant that MNCs in the sector were less likely than average to have a preference for domestic subsidiaries at 24.3%, with the figure for the entire database standing at 45.7%.


GlobalData has compiled a list of top MNCs based on revenue. Any top companies that did not have a subsidiary were removed from the list. The latest company annual reports (2019 and 2020, where available) and websites were analysed for a total of 2,188 companies. For a subsidiary to be included, the parent company had to have a majority ownership/control in the subsidiary. Affiliates, associates, joint operations and joint ventures were included as long as the ownership criteria was met. Subsidiary information was captured at a country level. Country names were standardised. In total, 216,898 subsidiaries were captured.