- The number of QR code coupons redeemed with a mobile device will quadruple to 5.3 billion by 2022 from an estimated 1.3 billion last year, according to new forecasts from Juniper Research. More than 1 billion mobile devices will access coupons through these scanned codes by 2022, the group estimated.
- Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 11, added a QR reader to iPhone and iPad cameras so consumers no longer need to download a separate app to read the square-shaped barcodes. The more user-friendly feature means that consumers will be more likely to use their smartphones to respond to coupon offers and discounts, Juniper said.
- Mobile-enabled loyalty cards will also double to nearly 4 billion cards by 2022 from 2 billion last year. Digitization of offers, alongside newer, more innovative technologies being applied by retailers, will help to drive growth in this area, Juniper said.
While QR codes have been around for years, their adoption has been hindered by the requirement that smartphone users download a separate third-party app that typically opens a mobile webpage — if it works at all. Apple's effort to more seamlessly integrate a QR code reader into its devices, along with the company's history of popularizing technology by making it more user-friendly, signals that there will be growing use of QR codes in brands' mobile strategies — a trend that started reemerging last year in part thanks to apps like Snapchat with its SnapCodes ad product or Pinterest with Pincodes, rolled out in November last year.
Furthered consumer adoption of the technology will work hand-in-hand with a growing number of retailers and packaged goods companies that include QR codes in coupons to drive store visits or to make special offers inside a store. Several major retailers, including Target and Walmart, rolled out QR code-based systems in 2017 to let customers scan offers directly to mobile wallets or rewards cards that can be scanned at checkout.
A wider variety of marketers might start to offer loyalty programs in a similar fashion, where consumers can maintain their profile on their smartphones instead of cluttering physical wallets and keychains with scannable plastic cards. By enrolling more customers in loyalty programs, retailers and consumer brands will glean greater insights into shopping habits and be able to use that information to tailor future offers that reward brand loyalty.