Five Years Of QR Codes

In the past I have reproduced charts, using Google Insights for Search, showing the almost exponential increase in the interest in QR Codes over the previous few years. The beginning of this month is 2d-code’s fifth birthday and I thought it would be interesting to revisit this Google tool and see what the charts look like over the lifetime of this website. It was a pleasant surprise to find that Insights for Search recently merged with Google Trends and has been given a new and improved interface.

Before looking at the charts it is important to know that a downward trending line doesn’t necessarily mean that the absolute traffic for a search term (in this case ‘QR Code’) is decreasing. What it does mean is that its popularity (or query share) is decreasing. Query share is the ratio between the number of queries for that term and the total number of queries (at a given time and location). You can read more about how Google performs this normalization here.

The first chart shows the in Japan the popularity of the search term ‘QR Code’ has remained fairly constant which is to be expected as QR Codes are ubiquitous there and have been for some time. The second and third chart show that the popularity of the search term ‘QR Code’ in the US and the UK has been declining since the beginning of the year in almost equal measure. And the fourth chart shows a recent and sudden increase in popularity of the search term in China.

Although interesting I don’t think we can read too much into this data. Searching Google for ‘QR Code’ is not necessarily a proxy for their use, deployment or effectiveness. However when it’s your birthday you are allowed to play around a little :)

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