QR codes – who’s really scanning them?

An infographic created by jumpscan.com reveals some interesting stats about QR codes and the people who are scanning them.

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QR codes are popping up everywhere at the moment.



QR (quick response) codes were originally developed in Japan in 1994 as a way of tracking vehicle parts, but have since made their way in to the mainstream. You can read more about the history of QR codes here.

QR codes offer a quirky alternative to the traditional URL, and marketers and advertisers have been embracing them for this reason.

QR codes have been used on just about everything – from shop windows to clothing tags, to business cards to buildings. All very nice, but is anyone actually scanning them?

The people at jumpscan.com have put together the following infographic, which does in part help to answer that question.

PS. You can scan the QR codes in the infographic for further information. ‘Interactive-ographic’ – it’s the future, we tell you..


The infographic suggests that QR scanning is most definitely on the rise, with a 1200 percent increase in scanning from July to December in 2010.

Rather surprisingly, the information reveals that 57 percent of Facebook and Twitter users are reported to have scanned a QR code at least once in the past year. 40 percent claim to have done so 5 or more times. We predict this number would be considerably lower if you asked people outside of Facebook and Twitter – out of the ‘digital realm’ so to speak.

The recent boost in QR code scanning is undoubtedly a result of big brands using them to assist with marketing efforts tied with the increase in smartphone usage.

We conducted a little experiment as few months back – “Would you scan a random QR code”. As expected, the amount of people who responded to the message hidden behind the code was nowhere near the amount of traffic the post received.

You can see why when you consider the following factors;

  • Are the audience using smartphones?
  • If so, how many of them have a QR scanning application installed on their smartphone?
  • How many even know what a QR code is?
  • Scanning a QR code takes effort – find phone > unlock phone > find app > open app > scan code > wait > read. Do people have time for this?
  • Is the effort worth the reward?
  • Does anyone actually care?

That’s quite a few boxes that need to be ticked in order to qualify as a relevant ‘target’.

It’s important  to ask these questions when considering QR codes for any type of advertising or marketing campaign.

QR codes are still relatively new to the mainstream world, but expect to see much more of them in the near future.

Happy scanning.

11 thoughts on “QR codes – who’s really scanning them?

  1. I scan them every time I see them regardless of what the product/service is.

    FYI: Apple iOS and i-nigma App FTW!

  2. The percentage of people willing to scan a “random QR code” will always be lower than that of people willing to scan a well-placed, well-thought-out code. That means one that provides a REAL incentive, and gives users an easy way to install a reader app — such as 2DGO (http://2dgo.org). 2D barcodes are like any other medium. Used well, they will achieve good results, especially as they become more familiar. Used poorly, they will always yield poor results.

  3. I’m using a Blackberry 9300 Curve (following the request in the QR code). So yeah, not everyone using QR codes is an Apple user.

  4. These statistics (aside from being presented in the most poorly designed infographic in the history of the universe) are misleading and useless. We never see the ONLY pertinent statistic, which is “Use QR codes on a regular basis (at least 4 times per week).” And the reason we do not see this is obvious to anyone – that number would be 0% because QR codes are a silly trend being pushed on the world by marketing people who think the alphabet is suddenly going to be as difficult to type on a phone as Kanji.

    But it isn’t. Typing out a URL is far, far quicker and easier.

  5. I find it fascinating. This is a great technology to tie the physical world in with the online world. I think it will be very common in the coming years.

  6. Hello,

    we believe that QR codes will make the connection between offline and online worlds easier. That’s why we created our QR code generator with social features – YouScan.me – http://www.youscan.me. You can add all your info like Facebook profile or fan page, twitter, youtube, etc. and connect with others.


  7. I use my HTC and love to scan QR codes, while my main line is mobile web design, I'm trying to introduce QR to local biz however, it's hard work for now but, just imagine how many trees we could save by having a QR code for instruction manuals leading to web based pages..:)

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