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QR code scanning increases by 4,549pc: study

Mobile bar code scanning has increased by 4,549 percent in the first quarter of 2011 on a year-over-year basis, according to a Mobio Identity Systems study.

With the increase in smartphone purchases for both iPhone and Android devices, which have a pre-installed QR reader, there is growing awareness among consumers of QR codes compared to a year ago.

?The iPhone 4 and Android have helped build a mass market of people who are able to scan QR bar codes,? said Mark Binns, chief marketing officer at Mobio, Vancouver, Canada.

Brands such as Calvin Klein and Conde Nast have also helped drive awareness of QR codes by placing them in their TV, print, Web and out-of-home advertising.

?Ultimately, the pairing of QR ready smartphones and QR bar codes in advertising ? which simply was not the case a year ago has driving the dramatic growth.?

One of the findings in the report, "The Naked Facts: Whiplash Edition, QR Bar code Scanning in Q1-2011," is that consumers between the ages of 35 and 44 continue to dominate mobile bar code scanning, accounting for 26 percent of users.

QR barcodes go mainstream
Women also show a higher interest in using QR codes, accounting for 68 percent of users.

These numbers have big implications for advertisers.

?QR barcodes are no longer just a way to speak to early adopters, or the geek crowd,? Mr. Binns said. ?QR codes have gone mainstream and are being used heavily by women who are head decision makers and purchasers in households.?

Mobio offers target rich environments where advertisers use multiple barcodes tied to different outcomes or campaigns to engage their consumers multiple times.

The vast majority of mobile bar code scans are centered on providing more information about a product or service, with 89 percent of scans falling into this category.

Payments only account for 6 percent of scans, but this is a growing area, per Mr. Binns.

?Mobile payments require a higher level of trust between the consumer and the brand than an information exchange requires,? he said. ?Brands and QR providers need to continue to educate consumers on the safety of QR codes.?

In terms of the type of media scanned, social media accounts for 70 percent of scans, TV 22 percent, the physical world four percent, online three percent and print one percent.

The iPhone is the most popular scanning device, followed by the iPod Touch and then, Android.

The report also shows that consumers are not just trying QR codes once and forgetting about them, but are becoming repeat users of the technology.

In fact, repeat scanners account for 62 percent of the market.

For marketers, this means QR codes can provide a way to have an ongoing conversation with consumers.

?QR isn?t a one-off medium anymore,? Mr. Binns said. ?Marketers can change their QR codes in ads each day, week or month, and have an ongoing dialogue with their consumer.?