Are brands finally wearing down consumers with QR codes? After many years of plugging away at them, the latest data form Comscore on EU5 suggests that smartphone owners are beginning to scan them. In the UK, for example it is around 3 million people. Pretty good, but still little over 10% of smartphone users. However, compare that to some of the other most used functions – daily web browsing 82%, social media access 81%, YouTube viewing 92% (UK figures from Our Mobile Planet). QR codes are far from mass media.
QR codes can be useful, however many brands use them poorly and there is far to go. Econsultancy has suggested that the Comscore figure is under-represented, who found that 19% of UK users had scanned codes. One clear piece of data, though, is the rise in QR scanning. Besides awareness, high levels of smartphone adoption are probably helping to drive the activity.
This is a question I am often asked by people who don’t work in advertising agencies (ad agencies like to assume that most people do scan codes). The answer to that question is … well, it depends. Or if you want to put a figure on that, it’s 14.5% of Smartphone users in Europe scan QR codes, according to comscore. That’s not a lot of people (say, 7% of the population), but it appears to be growing. I have blogged extensively about how and when codes should be used, but an interesting set of stats from the research company confirm that print – magazines and newspapers – is the most used media (50% of scans). Next most used was packaging at 38% and websites (strangely) at just under 29% of scans.
As with any technology, QR has it’s place (it’s place seems to be in print and packaging) and both the engagement and audience must be correct. I have conveniently split some examples into QR Fail and QR Success on Pinterest if you want to see how best to use them or see the comscore stats for more info.