A constantly popular destination for Google searches is a survey from two years ago on QR Codes, the rather popular 2D square barcodes that appear all over the place and have been supported by almost every camera-equipped mobile phone for the last few years. To find out how usage patterns are today, let’s look at a recent survey from MyVoice into mobile phone QR Codes.
Over the first five days of October 2007 17.091 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 2% in their teens, 16% in their twenties, 40% in their thirties, 27% in their forties, and 15% in their fifties.
The results here might be worth cross-referencing against last month’s survey, also from MyVoice, on mobile phone cameras.
Most of the QR codes I scan are from print advertisements, usually in the magazine that comes along with our mobile phone bill every month, and are shortcuts to web pages offering free downloads of various stuff. I do find them very convenient, but I’ve never seem a colour QR code bar in one article I read about them. Whether or not my phone can decode them, I do not know, although I suspect the answer is no.
Q1: Who is your current mobile phone service provider? If you have more than one, choose the one you use the most. (Sample size=17,091)
DoCoMo 43.0% au 28.9% Softbank 20.3% WILLCOM 2.3% Other 0.4% Don’t have a mobile phone (to end of survey) 5.2%
Q2: Do you use your mobile phone’s QR code or bar code reader? (Sample size=mobile phone users)
Often use 4.9% Sometimes use 42.2% Have used it before 14.6% Know what QR codes are, but don’t use them 27.7% Just heard the name 2.9% Not even heard of them 7.6% No answer 0.1%
This question was rather badly worded as it confuses awareness of QR codes with usage of them; the number of people aware of QR codes but not owning phones with decoding facilities is not determined.
Q3: How do you start your QR code reader? If there is more than one, select the method you use the most. (Sample size=QR code users)
From camera 55.2% From main menu 22.9% From application 20.1% Other 1.0% No answer 0.7%
This is another confusing question! The “from application” answer I understand, as some older phones have a separately downloadable program for doing the decoding, and also some games and utilities feature QR code options. However, as far as I am aware, many phones have a second-level menu from where you can select either camera mode or QR scanning mode, rather than having to enter into camera mode, then select a sub-option to scan codes. Having said that, to select from a menu on my phone required four button pushes – “Menu”, right, centre, centre, versus the same four clicks to select from camera – “Camera”, “Func”, 2, 5. Thinking about it, perhaps a lot of people do just change mode from the camera sub-menus?
Q4: From where do you scan QR codes? (Sample size=QR code users, multiple answer)
Magazine columns and advertisements 71.3% Maps 14.5% Food items 12.9% Posters, leaflets in stations 12.3% Business cards 4.5% Other 28.7% No answer 0.4%
I can’t say I’ve ever seen QR codes on maps, but perhaps this refers to magazines with a map of selected shops, and each shop has a QR code that links to their web site or to directions? For fresh food items, the QR codes sometimes provide traceability information or a home page for the grower. For packaged foods, the codes often link to promotional campaigns, and recently on Calbee potato crisps (that’s chips to my US readers) there has been codes linking to information about the potatoes used in that particular batch of snacks.
Q5: What do you do with the scanned QR code data? (Sample size=QR code users, multiple answer)
Connect to web site 90.0% Register bookmark 13.2% Send mail 10.6% Display text 4.5% Register in address book 4.3% Playback or save music, display or save graphic 3.9% Pass to application 2.4% Make telephone call 2.4% Copy to mail 1.9% Other 3.8% No answer 0.3%
I think the “send mail” option here is lower than in actuality. A lot of QR codes for web sites actually contain email addresses to which you send an empty mail to get an auto-reply with the actual URL, so this way the advertiser can capture your email address
Q5: Do you know about colour QR codes? (Sample size=QR code aware people)
Yes, and often use 0.7% Yes, and sometimes use 2.9% Yes, and have used them before 1.6% Know what they are, but not used them 14.0% Just heard the name 9.8% Not even heard of them 66.3% No answer 4.6%