Posted August 15, 2011 5:27 pm by with 11 comments

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QR codes are popping up on everything from magazine ads to bus shelters and slowly but surely, Americans are learning to point and click.

comScore has just posted the results of their June 2011 survey regarding the funky, black and white squares and here’s what they found.

14 million mobile users in the US have scanned a QR code. That sound like a nice number until you put it in perspective. It represents only 6.2% of all mobile users.

60.5% of the code scanners were men, mostly between 18-34 with an income of over $100k.

Where did they find these codes? Nearly half said a print magazine or newspaper. A close second with 35.3% was product packaging. Posters, business cards, flyers and storefronts also made the list. The two strange choices were websites (27.4%) and TV (11.7%).

Websites perplexes me because the usual purpose of a QR code is to link the user to more material which is generally located on a website. If I’m already there, why make me jump through hoops to use a code? Why not just show me what you want to show me? TV is odd because you’d have to either be very quick or use a pause command to stop the TV commercial long enough to scan the code. I’m surprised that even 11% of the people mentioned that option.

The last place I saw a QR code was on a soda cup from a fast food restaurant. I was in the car, so I didn’t activate the code until I got home, which put me in the majority. 58% of QR code users say they scan codes at home. 39.4% said at a retail location, grocery stores, restaurants, work and on public transportation also made the list.

I think that we have a long way to go before QR codes become part of the common usage. But the fact that people are scanning at home points to something I’ve been pushing lately, the concept that mobile isn’t just for those on the go. More and more we’re seeing people using their cell phone as a substitute for their computer and that’s going to have a big impact on online marketing.

Are you using QR codes as a consumer or a marketer? I’d like to hear about the pros and cons.

  • Great information, Cynthia. I’ve been seeing a lot of QR Code debates the past several weeks. One lively discussion I participated in was started by Kyle Flaherty on the Quick-N-Dirty podcast blog: .

    I saw another debate on G+ just today where Aliza Sherman wondered if people would be more likely to scan if there was a scanner app built in to smart devices. That would make it easier for people to participate without having to find and install an app – since it would already be there. Good points here, too:

  • federico

    There is also a social network where the use of codes develop relationships and also helps users discover different ways of managing their own codes…

  • It seemed these codes were everywhere half a year ago. The way they were popping up, I had the feeling I was missing something if I didn’t snap to and generate my own code. I would see them on public transportation, storefronts, flyers. But I never saw anyone use the code and it seems that over the last few months the images have disappeared from every ad. Is there any info that talks about the drop off of codes generated over the last few months?

    Also, I agree it seems useless to have them on the website or TV.

  • I believe the high website count may be due to finding mobile apps on websites. At least on android its the fastest way to install them.

  • federico
  • Hi,

    Great post. Check out a fresh new infographic which we have put up on the Rise of QR Codes. You may like it.

  • Great Article!
    You learn something new everyday..

  • We are offering QR Code generation for our customers as coupons that they can have people present on their phones. Its doing well but with the relative easy process to get these codes programmed with so much information, its a shame they haven’t replaced UPC codes entirely already.

  • Cynthia, at this time i personally have not used any of the QR codes. However, I agree that QR codes will soon be more of common usage.

  • Jonathan

    Did you see Lab42 also put out some data on QR codes. I’m always amused at some of the random places people put QR Codes. Like these, for example….

  • When it comes to QR Code marketing, its not about where the code is displayed its about where the code takes the “scanner”. I’ve seen them on Television, Print, Web, Bumper Stickers, Billboards, Window Clings, you name it. Understanding the clients marketing goals as well as the touch-points that they have with their customers/potential customers is critical when determining how/where/when to use QR code technology.

    Want to increase your companies Facebook “Likes” and you have 750 retail locations? Place attractively created QR Code ads in high traffic areas of the store (check-out counters, end caps, entrance/exit). I can assure you, that you’ll see fairly impressive increase in your companies Facebook “Likes”. Especially if you dangle the “discount/coupon” carrot along with “Scan to Like & Save”. The nice thing about the QR code “carrot” is that it can be saved for later use. It makes the most sense if your company produces a product or service that is not really an “impulse” type of purchase.. There are many different scenarios where QR’s are having some very positive impacts and making a difference. As always, you can reach me at Twitter @isightmedia,, or