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September 06, 2011

A Majority of Consumers Are Unaware of QR Codes

By Laura Stotler, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A new survey from Simpson Carpenter shows that a majority of consumers do not know what Quick Response (QR) codes are. The survey, which questioned 794 online respondents, revealed that just 36 percent know what QR codes are, while 11 percent of respondents had actually used them.

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The findings, published by Econsultancy Digital Marketers United, show that marketers have their work cut out for them in educating the public on the value of the QR code. The matrix barcode was designed to be read by smartphones, and encodes information including text, URLs and other data. It is designed to be decoded at high speed and consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.

According to the survey's findings, of the 11 percent of respondents who had used a QR code, just under half found it useful and would like to see them more widely available. A third, or roughly 33 percent of those respondents, found them useful on certain occasions and would not mind using them, while a fifth (20 percent) thought QR codes do no really offer any advantages and do not expect to use them in the future.

Why is there such a barrier to the adoption of QR codes? The Simpson Carpenter survey revealed that 52 percent of respondents did not have a device capable of scanning QR codes, while 15 percent stated they had not seen a code for a website they were interested in. An additional 11 percent claimed there are simpler and quicker ways of reaching websites that are more convenient.

Another survey from comScore (News - Alert), Inc. showed that 14 million US mobile users (roughly 6.2 percent of total mobile users) scanned a QR code in June 2011. Household income did play a factor in QR usage though, with 54.7 percent of those scanning QR codes having a household income of $75,000 or more, with 36 percent over $100,000.

The implication for marketers is that QR codes are targeting a wealthier audience and marketers need to be aware of this when planning QR campaigns. It is also likely that awareness and usage of QR codes will increase as they become more common and as more people use smartphones.

Econsultancy suggests developers include a barcode scanner in their mobile applications, ensuring customers can easily read barcodes without having to seek out a QR reader application. Marketers should not rely on QR codes alone, either, and should provide alternative ways for those without smartphones or a reader application to respond to ads and receive additional product information.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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