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QR Codes Catching On With Smartphone Users

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QR codes are popping up in more and more places, from billboards to business cards, and mobile consumers are responding: 32% of smartphone users say they have used a QR code and 70% say they would be interested to do so, either for the first time or again, according to a survey from MGH.

Moreover, nearly three-quarters of smartphone users say they are very or somewhat likely to recall an ad with a QR code.

Below, other findings from MGH's online survey of 415 smartphone users.

A QR (quick-response) code is a two-dimensional barcode-like image that can be read by software on a smartphone, usually via downloadable app. Once scanned, QR codes direct users to mobile-optimized Web pages for more information.

Awareness for QR codes is relatively strong: 65% of smartphone users say they have seen a QR code, most often on product packaging (56%), in magazines (45%), on coupons (45%), and in newspaper ads (27%).


QR Code Users Seeking Deals

Among smartphone users who have scanned QR codes, the top reason is to find coupons or discounts (53%), product or service information (52%), and to enter a sweepstakes (33%).


Nearly one-quarter of smartphone users have scanned QR codes to make purchases online (23%), interact with social channels (23%), and access video content (24%).

QR Code Users Demographics

Women (51%) and men (49%) scan QR codes at nearly equal levels, while such users tend to be young (48% are age 18-34) and affluent: 71% have an annual income of $50,000 or more:


Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


Ad Recall

QR codes may help in ad recall: 31% of smartphone users say they would be highly likely to remember an ad with a QR code and 41% say they would be somewhat likely to recall such an ad.

Smartphone users who say they would either use a QR code again or for the first time (70%) cite the following top five motivations for doing so:

  1. Finding discounts or deals: 87%
  2. Entering a sweepstakes: 64%
  3. Accessing additional information: 63%
  4. Making a purchase: 60%
  5. Signing up to receive more information: 53%

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 415 smartphone users via the Vision Critical Springboard America panel, conducted in February 2010.


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  • by Anthony Thu Mar 31, 2011 via web

    Funny, I was just thinking of using QR codes in some of my efforts. Thanks for the research. It seems like QR codes add a "wow" factor.

    I know you're trying to be all web2.0, but charts should stick to solid colors. If you want to use fades and give depth, use colors on opposite ends of the spectrum. I consider myself to have good eye-site, but I cannot decipher what each piece means without having to use logic.

  • by Anita Thu Mar 31, 2011 via web

    Thanks for the QR code findings. Having used them to gain more information about a real estate property, I found the most difficult part of the process was figuring out which QR code app to use. I assumed all readers are the same. It seems to me that use of this feature should include the name of the appropriate app. In my case, I found that the mobi reader worked but the other free reader did not. Maybe this is a Droid issue. Any insights on best practices for producing QR codes would be great.

  • by Jake Thu Mar 31, 2011 via web

    I never thought to use it on a business card before now, but it would be definitely be a great way of making your business card stand out and bringing traffic to your company site.
    I know I would at least scan it to see where it takes me!

  • by Mat Fri Apr 1, 2011 via web

    This survey results are great support for current QR code trend.
    We have just roll out update to support QR code tracking on this free QR code generator ( http://qrcode.good-survey.com/ ).

    Keep doing good posts on QR Code.

  • by Mike Sun Apr 3, 2011 via web

    Jake, Another great use of the code on your business card is to have it contain your contact info. when the code is scanned your prospect can download all your contact info into teir outlook!

  • by Lori Mon Apr 4, 2011 via web

    I am using Microsoft tag system for client codes. Its got the wow factor because the tag codes are color and I can add logos, photos, etc in the back of each generated code. Is there any money to be made in the customization of codes?
    I get my free codes from: http://tag.microsoft.com/consumer/index.aspx?pid=GoogleTag

  • by Andy Lynn Wed Apr 13, 2011 via web

    QR Codes are great for large events. For example, QR Codes put on name tags. The QR Codes have the contact information embedded, so when scanned, they are automatically programed into your address book.
    Andy Lynn, PRONTO! mobile

  • by Tyler Coffin Sat Apr 23, 2011 via web

    2011 is going to be the year of the QR Code for marketers. Next time you create a QR Code, try www.SocialQRCode.com. It is designed for businesses to generate QR Codes and mobile landing pages for their businesses social properties. Create a landing page with a Facebook "Like" button or Twitter "Follow" button. Users can also create a mobile coupon that is sharable on Facebook and Twitter!

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