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QR Codes: What Smartphones Are Being Used For Scanning?

Posted: August 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: General | No Comments »

The dominance of iPhones over Androids as the most popular QR code scanning device has continued to increase over the past 6 months based on figures from our database of recorded scan events.

While the Android was the preferred choice prior to February this year, their share has been decreasing steadily since August last year to the point where last month there were 1.9 scans on an iPhone for every one on an Android. Both Blackberry and Windows devices are struggling along with just over 10% and well under 5% respectively.

Considering the number of Android devices out there compared to iPhones, I’ll leave it up to the marketing guys to explain why the numbers stack up the way they do. It could be the demographics of iPhone vs Android users, the relative ease of use (and quality) of the scanning apps available for each platform, or a device-specific bias caused by many placements only showing an iTunes logo in the instructions on how to use the QR code. Who knows?

QR Code Scans By Device Type

Just a quick note – unlike may other QR code generation platforms, I don’t force my users to use our URL shortener (a short URL redirection is the standard method for collecting analytics). When given the option of encoding their own website URL directly into the QR code, rather than one of our short URL’s which then redirects to their website address, 80% of users choose the former.  As a result our data set only includes analytics data for 20% of the QR codes containing website URL’s that QR Stuff users have created over the past 6 months.

Having said that, the number of scan events in the data set is still statistically significant – the encoding preferences of the person creating the QR code are a variable that’s completely independent of the phone preference of the person scanning the QR code.

By the way, if you’re curious about why people would choose not to use a URL shortener, see my previous article on Using Google Analytics With QR Codes for a few very good reasons.

UPDATE: Received an interesting email from Eddy Hagen at the Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communications with a possible explanation for the large number of iPhone scans showing up in the figures:

We at VIGC have done some testing over the last few months and probably the answer is the following: most (over 75%!) of the QR-codes in magazines, newspapers, brochures can’t be scanned with an average smart phone (e.g. my Nokia E52). Many QR-codes are printed too small, which make them only scannable with smart phones that have a very good camera and macro / zooming capabilities, so the newest iPhones (and alikes). That might be the reason why your figures are not corresponding the number of devices/distribution of devices that are out there.


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