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The future of QR codes?

When I first discovered Quick Response codes, or QR codes, I immediately thought they were a cool way to let people quickly and easily access websites and information without having to have a web address. Many companies, such as Starbucks, are now using Quick Response codes in advertising through television commercials, as well as on their products. In fact, almost everywhere you go, Quick Response codes are popping up. Even the local newspaper and the Yellow Pages have discussed using Quick Response codes for print advertising.

After considering the popularity of Quick Response codes, as well as their ease of use, I began to consider another possible use for them that did not involve traditional business marketing; allowing people to use Quick Response codes to communicate with one another. Quick Response codes could be used to share ideas and information, and expand on the concepts of social networking. By people having the ability to have their own personal Quick Response codes that could change and be updated with new information, Quick Response codes could soon become a completely new means of communication.


Wikipedia defines a Quick Response code as:

A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) designed to be read by smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, a URL, or other data. Created by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.

The QR code was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. The technology has seen frequent use in Japan and South Korea; the United Kingdom is the seventh-largest national consumer of QR codes.” With this definition, I began to see that using the simplicity of a Quick Response code is the beauty of it. While watching TV one night, I saw a Quick Response code used in a commercial.

The commercial featured a customer at a store using a gift card for their purchase. In the commercial, the employee scanned the Quick Response code on the card in order to complete the transaction. By using such a simple method of action, the store was able to make money, and the customer was able to complete their purchase. There was no hassle or fuss, and the entire purchase was over in seconds.

For this reason, I believe that Quick Response codes are the wave of the future for print media, as well as mobile marketing. Imagine a world in which business owners can issue Quick Response code coupons in print media, and then track their usage digitally. Each time a customer redeems a coupon, the issuing company can know which print media advertising channel it came from, allowing them to better track their marketing efforts, as well as their advertising budget.

QR codes can even be used as a call to action. Another TV commercial I saw featured paper wallets with Quick Response codes on them. At one point in the commercial, the viewer was prompted to pause the broadcast and then scan the Quick Response code on the screen with their mobile device. By doing so, the viewer was taken to a product page on their mobile device to make a purchase of the advertised product. Using this simple mobile marketing technology, a company suddenly can take a marketing tool, like a commercial, and turn it into a virtual cash register. Imagine the potential for social media marketing!

As a result, I believe the future of Quick Response codes will allow people and businesses to communicate like never before. I envision a world in which people can obtain their own personal Quick Response code, and then use it to communicate new ideas, as well as transmit information. Just like the magnetic strip on the backs of credit cards revolutionized the business world, the Quick Response code stands to revolutionize the way we live. By using personal Quick Response codes, we can make purchases, exchange information, and even make personal connections through real life social networking and social media marketing.

Who is using them?

comScore recently did a study; RESTON, VA, August 12, 2011 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released results of a study on mobile QR code scanning based on data from its comScore MobiLens service. A QR (“Quick Response”) code is a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by smartphones.

The study found that in June 2011, 14 million mobile users in the U.S., representing 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience, scanned a QR code on their mobile device. The study found that a mobile user that scanned a QR code during the month was more likely to be male (60.5 percent of code scanning audience), skew toward ages 18-34 (53.4 percent) and have a household income of $100k or above (36.1 percent). The study also analyzed the source and location of QR code scanning, finding that users are most likely to scan codes found in newspapers/magazines and on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.

“QR codes demonstrate just one of the ways in which mobile marketing can effectively be integrated into existing media and marketing campaigns to help reach desired consumer segments,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “For marketers, understanding which consumer segments scan QR codes, the source and location of these scans, and the resulting information delivered, is crucial in developing and deploying campaigns that successfully utilize QR codes to further brand engagement.”

Demographic Profile of a QR Code User

A demographic analysis of those who scanned a QR code with their mobile phone in June revealed an audience that was more likely to be male, young to middle-age and upper income. Men were 25 percent more likely (index of 125) than the average mobile user to scan QR codes, representing 60.5 percent of the scanning audience.

More than half of all QR code scanners were between the ages of 18-34 (53.4 percent). Those between the age of 25-34, who accounted for 36.8 percent of QR code scanners, were twice as likely as the average mobile user to engage in this behavior, while 18-24 year olds were 36 percent more likely than average (index of 136) to scan. More than 1 of every 3 QR code scanners (36.1 percent) had a household income of at least $100,000, representing both the largest and most over-represented income segment among the scanning audience.

Demographic Profile QR Code* Scanning Audience June 2011 Total Mobile Audience U.S. Age 13+ Source: comScore MobiLens
QR Code Audience (000) % of QR Code Audience Index**
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 14,452 100.0% 100
Male 8,743 60.5% 125
Female 5,709 39.5% 76
Age: 13-17 1,076 7.4% 108
Age: 18-24 2,402 16.6% 136
Age: 25-34 5,317 36.8% 211
Age: 35-44 2,827 19.6% 117
Age: 45-54 1,798 12.4% 68
Age: 55-64 594 4.1% 28
Age: 65+ 437 3.0% 22
Income: <$25k 1,193 8.3% 54
Income: $25k to <$50k 2,597 18.0% 79
Income: $50k to <$75k 2,756 19.1% 96
Income: $75k to <$100k 2,689 18.6% 125
Income: $100k+ 5,217 36.1% 13
Source of Scanned QR Code* June 2011 Total Mobile Audience U.S. Age 13+ Source: comScore MobiLens
QR Code Audience (000) % of QR Code Audience**
Total Audience: Scanned QR code with mobile phone 14,452 100.0%
Printed magazine or newspaper 7,138 49.4%
Product packaging 5,101 35.3%
Website on PC 3,957 27.4%
Poster or flyer or kiosk 3,393 23.5%
Business card or brochure 1,940 13.4%
Storefront 1,850 12.8%
TV 1,693 11.7%
Location When Scanning QR Code* June 2011 Total Mobile Audience U.S. Age 13+ Source: comScore MobiLens
QR Code Audience (000) % of QR Code Audience**
Total Audience: Scanned QR code with mobile phone 14,452 100.0%
At home 8,382 58.0%
Retail store 5,688 39.4%
Grocery store 3,546 24.5%
At work 2,844 19.7%
Outside or on public transit 1,827 12.6%
Restaurant 1,095 7.6%

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Austin Coulson

Web Design and Internet Marketing have been passions of Austin’s for many years. While starting out by creating websites for himself, Austin ascertained many of the fundamentals and theory that constitute professional website development. Through networking and word-of-mouth, Austin soon began building and marketing websites for many different businesses and industries.

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