Contrasting View Points: QR Codes; catching on or falling off?

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

In recent years if you have been paying attention you may have noticed checkerboard patterns showing up on products, fliers, billboards, newspapers, and even tattoos. These patterns are known as  Quick Response or QR codes. They have been used as a marketing and advertising tool that can be scanned by a smart phone and take potential customers to a product website or a promotion that can only be accessed by scanning the code. Exactly how effective are these QR codes? There has been talk that they will soon be everywhere, but there is also the view that they are slowly starting to die out and be a non-factor. 

In the CNN article “Why QR Codes Aren’t Catching On” (http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/08/tech/mobile/qr-codes-gahran/index.html?iref=allsearch) it is stated that 8 of 10 college students don’t know how to work a QR code. This demographic of society is supposed to be the most tech savy and up to date group of people out there, but the majority of them do not understand what a QR code is or what it does. If this group can’t figure them out, then there is not a great deal of hope that they will grow and catch on. The study goes on to say that 75% were unlikely to scan a QR code if they saw one. This will also add to the downfall of this relatively new idea, if a majority of people won’t even scan the codes then there is not much use for them and will be a wasteful expense for most business that are currently using them. I would have to agree that QR codes will have a short lived life in the tech world. In public I have never really noticed someone stop to take out their phone to scan a QR code. If I were a CEO seeing studies like this one and my business used QR codes I would highly reevaluate our business strategy and consider dropping the expense all together. 

A counter to this idea appears in an article called “QR Codes Grow Further in Popularity; Print Appearances Rise by 476%” (http://www.simplyzesty.com/advertising-and-marketing/qr-codes-grow-further-in-popularity-print-appearances-rise-by-476/) on Simply Zesty. This article shows that the use of QR codes has greatly risen, especially in the print form. In January of this year there were only 88 QR codes in the top 100 magazines in the US, by the time September hit there were 507. This growth in use has been an ever increasing trend. This shows that advertisers see an ever growing use and ever growing market for them. Even though they are becoming even more prevalent in society, I still don’t believe that this shows that they are growing in popularity among those who actually use them. The numbers on usage, or lack there of, demonstrate that there is a decrease in their popularity among the group that matters the most; the consumers. 

Although QR codes have the potential to be great tools, I just don’t see them taking off it the most technological demographic in our society do not know how to effectively use them, and if they do know how ultimately won’t use them. If this trend continues, then QR codes will go by the way side and a new form of reaching customers will soon take it’s place. 

 

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