QR Codes to Undergo Revision, Connect with More Consumers

Who can blame consumers for wanting to keep up with technology? Using their smartphones they can find the closest coffee shop, update their Facebook status and download coupons. But when it comes to scanning QR codes, most consumers aren't buying in.

QR codes, a mobile form of barcodes, are designed to allow consumers to quickly access more information. Last year, about 8.9% of the adult population, or 21 million consumers used their smartphone to scan a QR code. This year, that number is expected to increase to 11% of all adults or about 26 million users. Data from Mobi indicates over 60% of consumers only scan a code once, perhaps to check out the uniqueness of the engagement. But scanning a code just once a year doesn’t really count as frequent use.

New eMarketer research shows that some enterprises believe this marketing tool needs a reboot. The bottom line seems to be that consumers check out new marketing tools on their smartphones most because they are looking for discounts or coupons. Marketers, on the other hand, have been using QR codes as a way to link consumers to more information about a product or a service.

For now, eMarketer projections indicate slow growth for mobile barcode use. By 2014, the 38.57 million users of the technology will represent only 27% of smartphone users, or 15.7% of the population. These numbers are based on an expected once a year use and likely are not what marketers are hoping for.

eMarketer analysts say, “Until marketers move beyond the practice of pushing content to consumers via mobile barcodes, and instead give consumers what they want…many consumers will continue to consider their first mobile barcode experience their last.” Marketers who want to gain an edge on the competition would be wise to engage their audience in new ways with QR codes before consumers give up on this technology completely.

[Source: New Report Shows Low Adoption for QR Codes. Emarketer​.com. 19 Jul. 2012. Web. 1 Aug. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.