Consumer QR Code Scans Up 157%

May 21, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Local & Directories / Small Biz | Magazines | Mobile Phone | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

scanlifeqrdemos585.jpgMobile barcode (or QR Code) scans by consumers were up 157% in Q1 2012 over Q1 2011, according to a report by Scanlife, the mobile barcode solution provider. ScanLife conducts its “Mobile Barcode Trend Report” annually to provide an analysis of consumer scanning traffic and marketer adoption of both two dimensional barcodes (QR Codes) and UPC barcodes (the traditional kind common to packaged goods). It analyzes data and processes traffic from over 5 million ScanLife users and thousands of unique QR Code campaigns from around the world.

ScanLife did not break down its data by industry, but Nielsen earlier this month revealed that among US smartphone owners who used their devices while shopping in-store, 57% have scanned a QR code for product details while in an electronics store, compared to 36% who have done so in a department store, the next most-popular location for this activity. Other stores where smartphone shoppers have scanned QR codes are mass merchandisers (31%), grocery stores (26%), office supply stores (20%), clothing stores (16%), and convenience stores (8%). Just 5% have done so in a furniture store, and only 2% in a dollar store.

Retail is of course just one use of QR codes. Magazine advertisers’ use of mobile action codes, including all 2D barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft Tags, and watermarks, continued to be solid in Q1 2012, according to a May 2012 study from Nellymoser. The percentage of advertising pages with an action code, perhaps the most accurate measurement of mobile action code adoption, remained above 8% each month during Q1 2012, for the first quarter since Nellymoser began tracking this metric in March 2011. The percentage of advertising pages with an action code reached a peak of 8.9% in January, before falling to 8.3% in February and 8.05% in March.

Key findings

  • Total scans continue to climb as ScanLife saw 13 million scans processed in Q1 2012 alone, a 157% increase from more than a year ago
  • The most popular QR Code marketing campaigns are delivering video, app downloads and product details
  • Quick-service Restaurants (QSR) made its debut in the Top 2D Campaigns by industry category as millions of codes were distributed by some of the most popular national restaurant chains in the United States
  • iPhone OS made fairly significant strides with 6% growth from Q4 2011; and now drives traffic about equal to Android OS. These two operating systems deliver 93% of the total traffic.


The gender continues to skew male, however there has been an 8% shift in the female audience compared to Q1 2011. Still, gender percentages have remained consistent over the last two quarters.

The 25-34 demographic continues to make up the largest portion of users, which had its highest percentage yet this quarter at 35%.

About the Data: ScanLife pulled the data for its Mobile Barcode Trend Report from the ScanLife Reporting Platform, which represents a broad look at the entire market. The 2D barcodes may have been generated on the ScanLife Platform, or from 3rd party generators. The 2D barcode scanning traffic may come from either the ScanLife app or 3rd party apps.

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