Top 20 Synthetic Data Use Cases & Applications in 2024

Synthetic data is poised for massive growth. Recent research shows the global market size for synthetic data reached $1.1 billion in 2021 and will balloon to $6.1 billion by 2026, a compound annual growth rate of 40%. Why this hockey stick adoption curve? Synthetic data unlocks game-changing capabilities across industries while protecting data privacy.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore 20 of the most impactful current and emerging synthetic data use cases. You‘ll discover how leading organizations employ synthetic data to enable secure data sharing, improve machine learning, and drive digital transformation. Let‘s dive in!

What is Synthetic Data?

For those new to synthetic data, let‘s start with a quick overview. Synthetic data consists of artificially generated datasets that mimic the statistical properties of real data. Using techniques like generative adversarial networks (GANs), synthetic data preserves useful patterns, correlations, and distributions without including any actual sensitive user information.

Key benefits of synthetic data include:

  • Protecting privacy and security when sharing data
  • Expanding limited real-world datasets for machine learning
  • Modeling rare events and edge cases
  • Simulating data for software testing

According to Gartner, 60% of large organizations will use synthetic data by 2024. The capabilities unlocked by synthetic data are driving rapid adoption.

Top 5 Industry Agnostic Synthetic Data Use Cases

Some of the most valuable applications of synthetic data cut across industries. Here are 5 common cross-industry use cases to consider:

1. Third Party Data Sharing

Partnerships with third parties like fintech apps or IoT analytics vendors often flounder due to data security concerns and privacy regulations. Synthetic data breaks down these barriers by enabling secure data exchange and evaluation of third party tools using simulated data.

2. Faster Internal Collaboration

within large enterprises, synthetic data can improve collaboration between departments. Rather than waiting months for legal approvals, teams can access useful synthesized data in hours or days and iterate faster.

3. Cloud Migration

Migrating production workloads to the cloud often stalls due to data compliance risks. Synthetic data provides a privacy-preserving bridge to safely transfer useful analytics to the cloud.

4. Long-term Retention Analysis

Regulations restrict the retention of personal data. Synthetic data helps conduct multi-year analyses for long-term trends without violating data privacy laws.

5. Mitigating Risks of Data Leaks

If organizations suffer a data breach, leaked synthetic records have no real-world impact. Synthetic data acts as a watermark to detect leaks faster and limit damages.

Use CaseDescription
Third Party SharingEnable secure collaboration and analytics with external organizations
Internal CollaborationImprove data access and iteration speed between internal teams
Cloud MigrationSafely transfer useful data analytics to the cloud
Long-term AnalysisConduct multi-year studies without retaining personal data
Leak MitigationWatermark data and limit impact of potential breaches

"With the rise of strict data privacy regulations across the globe, synthetic data has become a crucial asset for deriving insights while still protecting sensitive user information." – Mike Chambers, Principal Data Scientist at Insight

Now let‘s explore major industry-specific synthetic data applications.

Top 5 Synthetic Data Use Cases by Industry

Synthetic data delivers high impact capabilities across sectors. Here are 5 ways top companies employ synthetic data in their industry:

Financial Services

  • Test fraud detection systems safely using synthetic fraudulent transaction data.
  • Enable customer analytics by generating simulated customer data and activity.


  • Improve quality assurance by using synthetic anomaly data to train defect detection models.


  • Preserve patient confidentiality while enabling advanced analytics using synthetic health data.
  • Train more accurate AI diagnostic models with synthesized medical images and records.

Automotive & Robotics

  • Simulate thousands of miles of driving data to safely test autonomous vehicles using synthetic sensor feeds.

Social Media

  • Improve content flagging systems by testing against synthetic toxic, dangerous, or fake content.
IndustrySynthetic Data Use Cases
Financial ServicesFraud detection, customer analytics
ManufacturingQuality assurance, anomaly detection
HealthcareConfidential analytics, diagnostic model training
AutomotiveAutonomous vehicle testing
Social MediaContent flagging system testing

"Advanced industries like aerospace and pharmaceuticals rely heavily on synthetic data today to accelerate R&D cycles, train AI models, and mitigate risks around rare events and simulations that are cost-prohibitive to duplicate in the real-world." – Laura Major, VP of Data Science at LexSet

Now let‘s switch gears and explore use cases within key business functions.

Top 5 Synthetic Data Applications by Business Function

Synthetic data also unlocks capabilities for specific business functions within large enterprises:

Software Engineering

  • Accelerate testing by generating synthetic data to simulate production environments before release.

Human Resources

  • Conduct useful HR analytics on synthesized employee data to inform policies and processes while protecting privacy.


  • Optimize ad targeting and budgets by running simulations on synthetic customer data.

Data Science

  • Expand limited training datasets by synthesizing new examples to improve machine learning model accuracy.

Information Security

  • Strengthen authentication systems by testing against synthetic biometric data including synthesized faces.
Business FunctionSynthetic Data Applications
Software EngineeringTesting acceleration
Human ResourcesHR analytics
MarketingBudget optimization
Data ScienceML training data expansion
Information SecurityBiometric authentication testing

"We are seeing surging interest in synthetic data across functions like engineering, analytics, and infosec to meet demands for more data while also prioritizing user privacy." – Claire Vo, VP of Data Science at DeepVision

Finally, let‘s analyze the exploding applications of synthetic data for machine learning.

Top 5 Machine Learning Applications of Synthetic Data

Synthetic data provides a multitude of advantages for ML practitioners:

  • Augment scarce training data to improve model accuracy and robustness.
  • Model rare events and edge cases like fraud, network intrusions, manufacturing defects, or medical diagnoses.
  • Reduce costs of data labeling and annotations. Synthetic data can be generated with labels built-in.
  • Continually generate new test data to evaluate model performance over time.
  • Protect IP and confidentiality of proprietary ML models by training on synthetic vs. real datasets.
ML ApplicationDescription
Augment Training DataIncrease size of limited training datasets
Model Rare EventsSynthesize edge cases like fraud or defects
Cut Labeling CostsProduce ready-made labeled training data
Ongoing Test DataContinually measure model accuracy
Protect IPAvoid exposing proprietary data to vendors

"The flexibility to quickly generate synthetic data replicating corner cases or concept drift is enabling breakthrough advances in deep learning and reinforcement learning techniques today." – Alex Liu, Chief Data Scientist at Cape Analytics

Hopefully this guide provided you with a helpful overview of the vast range of high-impact synthetic data applications across industries, functions, and technical domains. As techniques continue improving, adoption will only accelerate further. Let us know if you have any other questions! We‘re here to help you consider if synthetic data solutions could be a fit for your unique data challenges.

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