How Many Would Scan a QR Code?

Take a guess, what percentage of Americans over the age of 18 would scan a QR Code? Of course we can never know the answer to this question exactly because not only does it depend on the individual knowing what a QR Code actually is but also on a multiplicity of other factors such as motivation, presentation, time available etc. However if we know that in a given situation, when confronted with a QR Code, X% of the population would scan it, then that would be a nice statistic to have.

Siegel+Gale SimplicityLab have done just that and it appears as a single line in one table of a 35 page survey report (PDF). Siegel+Gale measured the perception and comprehension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s two proposed labels illustrating data about a gas/electric hybrid vehicle (QR Codes on All New Vehicles by 2012). The survey explored which of the two proposed labels (vertical or horizontal) would be most understandable to the average American and which data were of most interest.

The overall survey results are very interesting but deep in the report is the table reproduced below.

Table showing what percentage would scan a QR Code

From this table we can calculate that 14.5% of all those surveyed would have scanned the QR Code. I have to admit that I am surprised at this figure, my guess was under 10% what was yours?

7 thoughts on “How Many Would Scan a QR Code?”

  1. I am seeing a lot of pushback on QR codes. I think it goes back the theory of adoption curves in culture.

    10 years ago – I remember strongly proclaiming “why the hell would I want an i-pod” this is stupid. Now I cant live without one.

    For this example specifically – I would ask if the survey stated if their was a reason for me to scan the code for added value. Ex. “Scan here to see a rating of this car compared to others in its class”

    The QR code by itself is just a tool. If you tell me how the tool benefits me, then it becomes an opportunity. That gap is huge.


    ps. I would ask if I could test drive the car.

  2. It’s a peculiar survey and it would be good to have the demographic data on who took it?

    Because the person is given so many options, for a particular situation, it is surprising that QR came in at 15%.

    The number that throws this off is the 45% would go to a web site for more info first. Looking at other surveys of car buyers, the number of people who get their information online “first” or as part of the process is heading toward 100%.

    Do we know what the QR code is to lead to? What info or broader info is available (presumably from a mobile web page/site?)?

    15% would be 1/2 of the smart phone owners in the US. That’s a huge number, in perspective.

  3. Thats quite a label sticker!

    And after reading the brief, there is a lot of competition on that little car label. If I am already confronted by information overload, I think that would bias a consumers willingness to scan a code as well.

    13 percent isnt too bad either – statistically speaking.

  4. From the comments in the report, it seems most of the consumers had never used a QR or other code before. There is no understanding of the value or benefit, or the linkage to added information. How many consumers understood it could be a gateway to the web site data?
    We still have a long way to go to educate potential users.

  5. I think many of the comments here miss the point and intent of the survey.

    It is a “tick” all that apply.

    Not choose one.

    Someone has the math right. If 30% of population has smartphones, 15% would be 1/2 of all smartphone owners. That’s pretty good.

    It’s not an either/or scenario. People will access information many different ways. If half the smartphone owners use a QR Tag, that will add up to a very large percentage of the whole.

  6. There hasn’t been mass adoption YET due to lack of awareness.
    One of the simplest ways to accomplish this would be for the carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and others to insert a flyer or other type of information with the customer’s bill either paper or electronic where the customer/user is made aware of the technology, types of codes, code readers available, and where to get a code reader.
    It would make sense since they stand to gain by the mass adoption of technology as the mass scans will lead to great amounts of data usage.
    Now, instead of just publicizing this problem, we should present the solutions. What do you think.



    Raul Do Rego

  7. At an event at the Lund University in Sweden called Q-day and Innovation in Mind last week, 700 QR buttons was distributed to the quests. 161 of the quests scanned the code and registered their contact details in the QR button. This equals 23%. And then around 800 scans was performed. In average each QR button was scanned 5 times.

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