Mobile Barcode Scanning Tripled in 2011

February 3, 2012

scanlife-barcode-scanning-trends.jpg2011 saw a 300% growth in barcode scanning compared to 2010, and a 1000% increase over 2009, according to [download page] a report released in February 2012 by Scanbuy. In fact, Q4 2011 alone saw more scans than 2009 and 2010 combined. Mid-November through December proved a significant period of new user activation, serving as the driving force behind the more than 3 million new ScanLife users activated during the quarter, a 360% growth from Q4 2010.

Scanners Skew Young, Male

scanlife-barcode-scanners-demographics.jpgData from the “Q4 2011 ScanLife Trend Report” indicates that one-third of users are aged under 25, although 25-34-year-olds are the dominant age group, accounting for 28% of all scans. Scanners are also 70% more likely to be male than female (63% vs. 37%).

Meanwhile, the number of iPhone users increased by about 10% points from Q4 2010 to reach 39%, but still trails Android (50%). Blackberry continued its freefall, dropping to only a 6% share, compared to more than 20% a year earlier.

CPG Takes Top Billing

In Q4, the CPG industry moved up 5 spots to take the top rank with the most scans via the ScanLife platform, which the company suggests can be seen as another indicator of mass adoption. The other top industries – retail, entertainment, editorial, and wireless – remained unchanged.

Packaging was the top medium for placement during the quarter, followed by print, web, outdoor, and direct mail.

QR Codes Most Popular with Marketers

73% of barcodes in Q4 2011 were 2D codes, with ID codes accounting for the remaining 27%. Although current use of 2D barcodes by 100 independent marketers that ScanLife surveyed stands at 50%, 86% of those marketers said they plan to use 2D barcodes in the future.

61% of the marketers surveyed report using open source code formats, with QR codes the most popular. The top 3 media placement choices include magazines and newspapers, direct mail, and product packaging.

These findings align with results from a comScore MobiLens study released in August 2011 that examined QR code usage in June 2011. According to that study, among mobile users who had scanned a QR code, the most popular source was a printed magazine or newspaper, with nearly half scanning QR codes from this source. Product packaging was the source of QR code scanning for 35.3% of the audience, while 27.4% scanned a code from a website on a PC and 23.5% scanned codes from a poster/flyer/kiosk.

Other Findings:

  • According to the ScanLife report, the largest scan day of 2011 was Black Friday. On that day, late morning to early afternoon saw the most sustained traffic, but the largest spikes were at the very beginning and end of the day.
  • The US was the top country scanning barcodes in Q4 2011, followed by Spain, Canada, Denmark, and France.

About the Data: The data in the ScanLife report was pulled from the ScanLife Reporting Platform. It represents traffic from both 2-dimensional barcodes (i.e. QR codes) and UPC barcodes. The 2D barcodes scanned may have been generated on the ScanLife Platform, or from third-party generators. The 2D barcode scanning traffic may come from either the ScanLife application or third-party apps.

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