There’s some controversy in the marketing world regarding the effectiveness of QR codes. Some marketers would argue that these odd-looking barcodes are a bygone trend that never took hold. Others paint an entirely different picture. Personally, I believe that quick response codes are just as effective as they were when they became a mainstream marketing tool a few years ago, and the evidence supports my opinion. We’ve published several case studies here indicating that QR codes are still useful and relevant. The key is to use these codes effectively, rather than using them just because they’re trendy.
Recently, a marketing firm published a report that focused on QR, UPC, and NFC scans during the 2013 holiday season. The results were telling. Not only did consumers use quick response codes, scans increased dramatically from the previous year. From Thanksgiving weekend to the end of 2013, over 10.4 million people scanned these codes to download mobile applications, access more information about products, customer reviews, and potential deals. This is an increase of nearly one-third total scans from the same time period one year earlier.
There are two major reasons behind the huge increase in scans from 2012 to 2013. The first is that with each passing year, consumers are becoming more comfortable with using their mobile devices as shopping tools. Shoppers are more connected now than they’ve ever been before. The second is that consumers have grown familiar with quick response codes. These bar codes have become more mainstream among marketing tools in the past few years, and in turn, mobile users are more comfortable scanning when they recognize them on in-store displays.
The data from the recent report also revealed a deeper look at the demographics of your typical QR code, UPC, or NFC scanner. In this particular case, it turns out that males were more likely to scan these codes than females. Sixty-three percent of scans were completed by men, and 37% by women. Surprisingly, millennials were not the most frequent scanners during the 2013 holiday season. Those in the 35-44 age bracket were the most likely scanners. The data also revealed that Apple users scanned more often than Android users. Fifty-six percent of those who scanned did so from an Apple device, and 42% did so from an Android device.
These numbers represent good news for retailers that are interested in using QR codes to engage with potential customers. They also serve as further proof that these bar codes are indeed alive and well in the retail world and beyond. As it turns out, 2014 may be a great year to add QR codes to your business’ mobile marketing toolkit!
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