The following data is based on the QR codes created by our website users during January, February and March 2012.
- Overall global QR Code activity is up 381% on Q1 2011 and up 16% on Q4 2011.
- The Top 5 countries (Untied States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany) have remained the same however their collective share of global QR code activitiy has decreased marginally since Q4 2011.
- While the relative proportion of global QR code activitiy for the USA decreased from 49.0% in Q4 2011 to 48.1% in Q1 2012, QR code activity in absolute terms increased by 14% in the USA over the same period.
- Email and SMS QR codes have increased in popularity at the expense of QR codes containing a website URL. Google Maps QR codes also showed a strong increase in popularity.
- The disparity in device type used for scanning appears to have stabilised at approximately 60% iOS and approximately 30% Android.
QR Code Activity
While the stratospheric year-on-year growth rates seen through 2011 (albeit off a low 2010 base) have begun to tail off somewhat, significant increases between Q4 2011 and Q1 2012 were recorded for all countries in the top 20 with the exception of the Netherlands, that showed a reduction of 6%.
Overall the yearly growth rates reflect the adoption cycle of QR codes with earlier adopters like USA and Canada now stabilising in growth rates, while Europe exhibited in the last 2 quarters the sort of growth rates that North Amercia saw in Q3 and Q4 last year.
As the major markets that are using QR codes each move past the stage of over-heated and frenzied hype and opportunistic “snake oil” marketing, a much more solid and structured phase of adaption and deployment will follow characterised by marketers becoming more experienced and mature in their use, advertisers having a more realistic expectation of the role QR codes can play in their promotional mix, and the general consumer becoming more familiar with seeing them around.
|Position||Country Of Origin||% Of Global Total||% Increase|
|Q1 2012||Q4 2011||Q1 2012||Q4 2011||Q4 11 to Q1 12||Q1 11 to Q1 12|
“QR Code Activity” is a weighted index that we have created that seeks to quantify the relative changes in the overall number of people engaging with QR codes over time, as both QR code users and QR code publishers. The underlying data is taken from four sources – QR codes created on the QRStuff.com website, scan event data that we record on behalf of our users, our own website visitation analytics, and Google Insights For SearchTM data for key industry search terms. The latter data source is included to normalise any bias resulting from the growth in our user base having consistently out-stripped the growth in the market by 20% to 35% during any given quarter.
One interesting take-out when looking at the underlying data is that while the number of QR codes created at QRStuff.com increased by 16% between Q4 2011 and Q1 2012, the number of scan events recorded increased by 156% over the same period indicating a strong growth in the ongoing level of user engagement with those QR codes created and published in previous months.
QR Codes Created
Since 2011 QR codes containing email messages and SMS messages have increased significantly in popularity, as have QR codes containing Google Maps locations, with that increase being at the expense of QR codes containing a website URL.
|Position||Content Of QR Codes||Percentage Of Total||% Increase|
|Q1 2012||Q4 2011||Q1 2012||Q4 2011||Q4 to Q1|
|3||3||vCard Contact Details||10.6%||9.9%||25%|
|4||4||Social Media Links||3.4%||2.4%||60%|
|6||6||Google Maps Location||2.4%||1.1%||141%|
|7||5||Youtube Video Link||1.9%||1.7%||32%|
Scanning Device Used
iPhones are still the most popular devices used for scanning QR codes. While Android devices showed some sign of narrowing the gap in Q3 and Q4 2011, the disparity is now pretty much 2:1. Blackberry’s continue to rapidly slide in popularity, however Windows Mobile devices have gained some of the ground they lost earlier in the year.
We still hold to the point of view that the scanning apps available for iPhone users are of a significantly higher quality and sophistication leading to higher useage rates, higher user satisfaction and higher user retention for iPhones compared to other devices.
The continuing publication of QR codes that are too dense to be read by a smartphone that doesn’t have a high resolution camera and/or optical image stabilisation will also continue to bias useage rates in favour of iPhones and away from older or less sophisticated devices on other platforms that give the user a less satisfactory scan result.