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Are You Scanning?
Written by Betsy
Monday, 05 December 2011 15:55

With a great deal of research experience in how various demographics across the globes use technology, Kairos Consumers has followed with great interest the proliferation of the QR code. For those unfamiliar with the QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) or its history: It is a matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) created in 1994 by Denso Wave for the automotive industry and gaining traction in recent years as a means of encoding a range of information that can be quickly decoded. An Op Ed on in August 2011 by Hamilton Chan, CEO of Paperlinks, suggested that QR codes are “here to stay”, but like all things tech-related, consumers need to first understand the utility.

Smartphone ownership continues to climb among younger demographics in the U.S. and we have come to equate youth with tech-savvy, as has many a marketer. However, intuitive technology still reigns, and a recent report by Archrival Marketing suggests that QR codes are not necessarily intuitive to younger consumers. Researchers interviewed more than 500 university students on 24 campuses nationwide and found that while 81% of students owned smartphones and nearly the same percentage (80%) had seen a QR code, only 21% were able to successfully scan a QR code provided by Archrival and three fourths said that they are “not likely” to scan a QR code in the future. Of interest: the smartphone with the highest rate of ownership was the iPhone (42%). Common reasons for not scanning successfully included the time involved or the unwillingness to download an app. Others tried and simply could not figure out how to do it. Industry experts like Mr. Chan admit that QR codes don’t actually solve a problem in the mind of the consumer, and this can lead to slow adaptation. But indirectly, time lost on searches could be seen as a problem…so it may just be a matter of time before the efficiency that “real world hyperlinking” (Mr. Han’s term) is intuitive rather than painfully learned. The payoff: Scanning codes provides access to unique promotions and deals, and the “in the know” factor may prove to be an undeniable catalyst for QR code growth…once we all figure out how to scan.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 December 2011 16:05