We’ve seen them on advertisements, products, even clothing, but how many of us actually use the QR code? Just the other day at LAX I passed by an ad for free WiFi, all you had to do to sign up was scan the code on the ad. That gave me pause. In my life, I’ve never actually scanned a QR code. Does anyone?
(Disclaimer: I have no idea what this code is for)
According to research conducted in 2013 – which promises a massive rise in the years to come – just 21% of the consumer market has scanned QR codes. The study indicated a rise in usage up till that point, but that rise fell short of expectations (Kolowich, 2014). That rise does not seem to be happening. One recent article even called the QR code a “blinking VCR clock” for this century (Goetz, 2015). Ouch.
These codes have been around for far longer than one might expect, having been introduced in Japan in the early 1990s. But they didn’t make their way across the pacific until just a few years ago. When they did, they seemed to appear everywhere, and fast (Strout, 2013). But the lack of built-in QR code readers in most smartphones (Apple and Android and even Blackberry) made them slow to be adapted, which can be a product killer in the tech-world.
While the lack of applications is harming the QR code, is it far from dead. Some very high profile brands are still using the little squares, including Coca Cola, SnapChat and that WiFi ad. Should Apple or Google start putting automatic code-readers into their standard mobile operating systems sometime soon, we may still see a resurgence for the code.
Goetz, Geoffery. (2015, January 31). Why QR codes are the blinking VCR clock of the 21st century. Gigaom Research. doi: https://gigaom.com/2015/01/31/why-qr-codes-are-the-blinking-vcr-clock-of-the-21st-century/
Kolowich, Lindsay. (2014, August 14). Are QR codes dead? Hubspot Blogs. doi: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/qr-codes-dead
Strout, Aaron. (2013, April 4). The death of the QR code. Marketing Land. doi: http://marketingland.com/the-death-of-the-qr-code-37902