QR Code Awareness

by Nathan King

Mobile devices have changed the way consumers access the Internet as well as the way marketers are trying to reach customers. QR codes - which direct you to a website, phone number, SMS or other call to action when scanned with your smartphone - are showing up everywhere. Although QR codes and mobile barcodes have been around for several years, the explosion of the smartphone market allowed barcode scanning to grow 700 percent from January 2010 to July 2010.

When researching QR codes I was able to find great statistics on who was scanning them, but not how aware consumers are of these barcodes. I wanted to know who has heard of them, who has scanned them and some additional information that will help us better understand QR codes so that we can strategically implement them into advertising, direct mail and marketing materials.

Take a look at our infographic below and let us know your thoughts on QR codes in the comments below. Love 'em? Hate 'em? Are they going anywhere?

QR Code Infographic Stats

Our survey was conducted in October and November of 2010. Respondents were 41 percent male and 58 percent female and comprised mostly of adults ages 25-54 living in the United States. Feel free to link to our infographic, borrow it or use the data we collected, just give us credit or link back to us. Thanks!

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Nathan KingNathan King is a Digital Strategist at Long Island advertising agency Austin & Williams and a leader in Social Media marketing. To read more about Nathan, visit his bio section on the A&W Web site.

Comments – 33 responses to “QR Code Awareness”

  1. Tim Says:
    Very informative and beautifully designed infographic. Not to mention very timely, because my first impression of QR Codes was that they were all hype, however, they seem to actually work if used properly. Even though it's still early, some great data. I expect some of these numbers to grow.
  2. Roger Smolski Says:
    Couple of questions....

    How many respondents in total?

    How was the survey conducted?

  3. Nathan King Says:
    Roger - the survey had about 400 respondents and was conducted using several online and offline methods.
  4. Roger Smolski Says:
    Thanks Nathan -

    And what was the cohort? Friends and family, people you knew who had smart phones, random people you just called, shoppers in the Mall?

    When you used online methods did you remove bias for self-selection?

  5. Nathan King Says:
    Roger - we did our best to put the survey and questions in front of a wide range of people. We asked people who had smartphones and those who didn't, some random people, some clients and some total strangers. When asking people to take the survey, I made sure not to mention QR Codes so that I didn't filter out those who had no idea what they were.
  6. Roger Smolski Says:
    That is interesting information, thank you Nathan. I have a couple of factoids you may be interested in....

    The 700% growth in QR Code usage that you quote in the opening paragraph was in fact for all barcodes. This figure included UPC (linear) codes and various 2d barcodes as well as QR Codes.

    Less than 1% of US mobile phone owners used a 2D bar code scanner in Q2 2010 according to a North American Technographics survey of a randomly chosen sample of 42,792.

    Thanks for sharing your info Nathan.
  7. Nathan King Says:
    Roger, thanks for clarifying that. I hope to see QR continue to grow.
  8. Bob Says:
    Was this QR only, or, did it include 2D (Microsoft Tag)?

    Only wondering due to the high volume of MS Tags in circulation over the summer in the States?

    With some rebranding going on, it's also possible people may not be referring to QR as "QR?" Did they respond to a visual icon cue, or the term "QR?"

  9. Florencia Says:
    The use of QRs are growing extremely fast. I recently signed up to this website called www.uqr.me because they offer a free QR that you can manage yourself. I printed my QR to my business cards and if I move or change phone numbers, I can make the changes on the website and it automatically makes the changes to my business cards without having to reprint them. GENIOUS!!! anddd they offer a Business option where you can purchase more QRs and manage all of them on your page. Pretty cool stuff.
  10. CaMusci Says:
    QR's are popping up as ecucational tools too. Imagine labeling test tubes with QR codes linking them to online information? All areas could benefit from "instant" background info!
  11. Dianne Says:
    Thanks for this beautiful infographic. It's great to have some data on QR code recognition in the US and it will be interesting to see additional trends as more information is collected. There's lots of excitement about QR codes in education.
  12. Nathan King Says:
    Dianne - QR Codes still have a ways to go, but I don't see it tapering off anytime soon. Have you seen any specific uses in education? Please share.
  13. Di Says:
    Great infographic. I'm just starting to use QR codes in our school library by putting them inside book covers to link readers to author sites, reviews etc. Have a look at this video on You Tube for some more exciting uses of QR codes in schools. http://bit.ly/9ygv8t
  14. Linda Says:
    I was intrigued by the infographic... opens up creative ways to survey in learning and teaching for one application. I am embarking on working out how to develop a QR code lesson focussed on What is Science... [and of course, what it is not]. Students will be studying this and I have a chance to try to enthuse and /or assist them in this... QR Codes seemed a fun way to engage and enhance what they would be taught.
  15. Elliott Lemenager Says:
    Great infographic - I'm the community manager for Microsoft Tag and I wanted to see if you've heard about us. If you haven't shoot me an email and I can give you some more details and examples. If you're interested at all about creating an infographic about Tag after researching a bit I can help get you data and promote it as well.

  16. Nathan King Says:
    Elliot - Thank you for writing. I've heard of Microsoft Tag, but have never implemented them as of yet. I sent you an email and hope to learn more.
  17. Elliott Lemenager Says:
    Thanks Nathan, I just sent over an email in reply
  18. lafronde Says:
    Great. I'm a qr code designer who loves qr codes !
    My imagination works anytime.
    Visit my website and the facebook page.
  19. Stan Creatchman Says:
    Thank you Nathan for the info on the QR codes. My day job is as a Promotional Product Consultant-I'm not clear on how one puts a QR code on an item like a T'shirt. Vector art is required but the QR codes generated online are very low resolution & the graphics people I contacted about converting the QR web art to vector had not come into contact yet with QR codes. Is there an easy obvious answer to this question- or is QR design restricted to graphics people with a special skill set like the last commentator.
  20. Nathan King Says:
    Stan - Thanks for commenting. You can get a Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) from http://keremerkan.net/qr-code-and-2d-code-generator/ - Check to see if your vendor accepts that file type.
  21. Florencia Says:

    You can sign up to www.uqr.me and get your own personal QR that can be changed and managed by you as many times as you want for free. uQR.me also offers printing of your QR on t-shirts, pins, bags and other stuff. Check it out!
  22. Stan Creatchman Says:
    Thank you Kindly, Nathan & Florencia-helpful
  23. Susan Says:
    Interesting figures; I don't think that many people have heard or scanned qr codes in Europe / the Netherlands (my home country) yet. It is just starting here...
  24. Kemp Edmonds Says:
    We need more studues like this. This is a good thing. This data is created and used by those invested in QR code technology. The study lacks transparency and randomness in it's methodology.

    Although this data is interesting the study methodology and gathering of subjects is flawed and lacks diligence required for statistics that are now bring seen by so many people on Mashable where someone republished your data without linking to your data.

    It's important those of us "in the know" about QR and AR and other emerging tech take these numbers with a grain of salt.
  25. Nathan Says:
    Kemp - Thank you for commenting. I saw the post on Mashable yesterday and have reached out to the company who created the infographic. Our goals with this research was to answer our questions - as well as our clients' questions - about QR codes. We did our best to get a more general segment, but it probably lacks complete randomness. Anyone who does a similar study will get their own results.
  26. John Faasse Says:
    In 6% of case QR led to a purchase. Is that 6% of 28%?
  27. Kevin Says:
    It has been more than 6 mos since your research was conducted; which can be a "lifetime" in the digital world. Have you all conducted any follow-up research to see where this data has trended?
    Thanks again for sharing.
  28. Kevin Says:
    Kevin - We have not conducted any followup research as of yet. Stay tuned - I may end up doing something later in the year on QR or mobile trends.
  29. Luverne Says:
    Hi how do they work? How do you scan them onto your smart phone? Apologies I'm from south africa and a little behind in technology.
  30. Nathan Says:
    You should be able to find some free barcode scanning software for your smartphone. Just snap a photo and something should happen.
  31. Tim Folkes Says:
    Hi there, great infographics.
    What program did you use for this? Do you know any free inforgraphic sites that can do similar things?

  32. Queaar Inc Says:
    Amazing Infographic. Very neat work. We too have created one this week and here is the link. Let us know what you think.

  33. android apps Says:
    Thanks for your information . Your information is very helpful

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