QR Codes Still A Mystery To Most, Even Those Who Do Scan

January 5, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Marketing Charts has some useful insights up from a recent survey looking into how consumers actually perceive and use buzz-heavy QR code technology.

As it turns out, only 1 in 5 people knew what they were and of those who did and have actually whipped out their smartphone and scanned, nearly 3 in 5 did nothing with what they got.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers who have scanned a QR code say they did nothing with the information, compared to 21% who shared the information with someone and 18% who made a purchase, says a survey just released by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey.

In fact, of those who have scanned a QR code, just 41% said that they found the information they received useful, while 42% had mixed feelings and 18% said the information was not useful. On a more encouraging note, though, 70% of these consumers found QR codes easy to scan, compared to just 7% who found them difficult.

Overall, just 21% of the survey respondents said they had heard of QR codes, although 81% recalled seeing one when presented with an image. According to an October 2011 survey from strategic marketing firm Russell Herder, 72% of consumers said they had seen a QR code, but nearly 30% did not know what it was.

Data from “9 Things to Know About Consumer Behavior and QR Codes” suggests 43% of those asked would be interested in scanning to get discounts, coupons, and free items. About a quarter were interested in more information about a product or service, access to exclusive content, or buying stuff.

As logic suggests, the most passive medium gets the best action. Magazines and newspapers (35%) were the leading sources for those who have scanned a QR code, ahead of packages (18%) and websites (13%). Direct mailings (11%), billboards or signs (11%), and emails (4%) proved to be relatively less significant sources.

It backs up what a lot of people are saying about the QR code/digital OOH thing, that the dynamics of the viewing situation aren’t terribly conducive to people whipping out their phones.


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