QR Codes Arenít Giving Consumers What They Want
Written by eMarketer
Gaining access to discounts is the primary reason consumers want to scan QR codes
QR Codes, the most common of the mobile barcode formats, have not fulfilled their promise and connected with large audiences, according to a new eMarketer report, “QR Codes: Marketers Keep Hitting 'Go,' but Consumer Adoption Still Slow.”
The explosive growth of smartphone users in the US means that there will continue to be new consumers who try scanning a barcode at least once, “but ‘one and done’ users do not create a mass audience.”
eMarketer predicts US adult smartphone penetration will grow from 43.9% in 2011 to 58.3% by 2014, and projects that the percentage of smartphone users who will have scanned a mobile barcode will edge up from 25% to 27% during that timeframe. “Because smartphone use is projected to grow so rapidly, that means the total number of mobile barcode users will show considerable growth, reaching nearly 38.6 million adults by 2014,” said eMarketer.
But these vast numbers of users are not making regular use of barcodes. International mobile payments and marketing company Mobio found 60% of North American consumers who scanned QR Codes in Q3 2011 did so just once.
“What consumers want from their 2-D barcode experience and what brands deliver are typically at odds,” said eMarketer. “Consumers want deals and discounts. Brands want to deliver information.”
Nearly half of the US consumer respondents to a Chadwick Martin Bailey survey in October 2011 were strongly interested in discounts via scans.
And yet marketers seem more focused on delivering brand messaging or on list-building. A September survey by the Association of Strategic Marketing of US marketers who used QR Codes found that two-thirds of the codes delivered product information, while less than one-quarter delivered discounts.
Poorly aligned consumer-brand expectations for mobile barcode-linked content and inadequate user experiences are driving consumers away from mobile barcode use. “Until marketers move beyond the practice of pushing content to consumers via mobile barcodes, and instead give consumers what they want ... many consumers will continue to consider their first mobile barcode experience their last,” said eMarketer.
The full report, “QR Codes: Marketers Keep Hitting 'Go,' but Consumer Adoption Still Slow,” also answers these key questions:
- How do consumer adoption rates for mobile barcodes in other countries compare to the US?
- Are teens any more likely to scan mobile barcodes than older consumers?
- What kinds of retailers are more likely to see mobile barcode-scanning customers?
- What factors could slow the adoption of near-field communication as a replacement for QR Codes?
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17 July 2012