From being used to track vehicles during manufacturing to becoming one of the biggest marketing trends of the decade, QR codes have come a long way. QR codes have found their way into all industries, with major brands like Starbucks, IKEA, General Motors, Walmart, Nike, etc., using them.
The use cases of QR codes are substantial. Most brands leverage QR codes to bridge the gap between online and offline channels. This includes bringing users to websites or social media, sharing PDFs and other information, sharing contact details, collecting payments, and more.
However, the QR code landscape has changed significantly over the past few years, especially after the pandemic. We’ve compiled some QR code statistics and forecasts to help you better understand the usage and potential of QR codes.
Table of Contents
- General QR code statistics
- QR code usage and adoption by country
- QR code statistics by applications
- Pandemic and QR codes
- Future trends and projections
General QR code statistics
84% of mobile users have scanned a QR code at least once. 72% of people scan a QR code at least once per month, and 32% scan a QR code once a week. (Mobileiron)
The increasing adoption of QR codes is closely related to the rising ownership of mobile phones and the internet.
- 6.64 billion smartphones are there worldwide in 2022, and the number is projected to reach 7.33 billion by 2025. (Bankmycell)
- 83.72% of the global population owns a smartphone as of 2022. This number increases to 91.54% for all types of mobile phones. (Bankmycell)
QR code usage and adoption by country
The adoption of QR codes has seen a massive uptick over the past few years. Presently, all the developed and developing nations have adopted them.
Here are some country-specific QR code statistics to give you a better outlook:
- In a June 2021 survey conducted in the US, 45% of respondents had used a marketing QR code at least once in three months. Furthermore, 54% of respondents aged 18-29 and 48% aged 30-44 had used a marketing QR code. (Statista)
- 11 million households in the US scanned a QR code in 2020, up from 9.76 million households in 2018. (Statista)
- 27.95% of US consumers agree, and 18.8% strongly agree that QR code usage has increased after the pandemic. (Statista)
- The number of US smartphone QR code scanners will increase from 83.4 million in 2022 to 99.5 million in 2025. (Business Insider)
Though QR codes were invented in Japan, China was the first country to realize the potential of QR codes and use them on a large scale. Today, QR codes are the norm in China.
These statistics showcase the boom of QR codes in China.
- Over 50% of the Chinese population uses QR codes several times a week. (Packaging Insights)
- Users interact with QR codes 10-15 times a day in China. (Go Click China)
- China recorded QR code transactions worth $5.5 trillion in 2020. (Go Click China)
QR code adoption in India has grown exponentially due to the rise of digital payments and UPI platforms.
- Over 9 million merchants in India accept QR code payments. (Mobile Transaction). (Mobile Transaction)
- The UPI interface, an integrated payment system that allows users to make bank payments using QR codes, recorded 2.8 billion transactions worth INR 5 trillion in June 2021. (Statista)
Europe has been a late mover in QR code adoption, but the region is readily incorporating QR codes for payments and other uses.
- 86.66% of smartphone users in the UK and Europe have scanned a QR code at least once in their lifetime. (Martech Alliance)
- 36.40% of smartphone users scan at least one QR code a week. (Martech Alliance)
QR code statistics by applications
The applications of QR codes have multiplied over the past few years, with almost all industries using QR codes for marketing and administrative uses. Let’s look at some statistics specific to the applications and use cases of QR codes.
QR codes are a valuable marketing asset for any brand. They bridge the gap between online and offline marketing and help brands bring offline consumers to online channels.
- Several brands use QR codes to share discount coupons. The number of discount coupons redeemed using QR codes increased from 1.3 billion in 2017 to 5.3 billion in 2019. (Go Click China)
- 37% of people are aware that QR codes can be used to download applications, while 22% know they can be used to share map locations. (Go Click China)
Phygital is the new normal in this omnichannel world. Brands need a phygital marketing and customer engagement strategy to engage their consumers across channels and grow their business.
- Brands with an omnichannel strategy retain about 90% of customers, compared to 33% for their single-channel counterparts. (Invescpro)
- 72% of digital shoppers consider the in-store shopping experience vital for making a purchase decision. (Invescpro)
- 71% of in-store shoppers consider their smartphones to be critical to the in-store experience. (Invescpro)
QR codes are one of the most effective omnichannel tools in the market. They bridge the gap between online and offline marketing, helping you create an integrated and immersive consumer experience.
Digital payments have been one of the most notable use cases of QR codes. With QR codes, users can make payments online in a few seconds. The process is secure and hassle-free.
- The global QR code payment market was valued at $8.07 billion in 2020, and it’s projected to reach $35.07 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 16.11%. (Allied Market Research)
- India sees over INR 12 crore worth of QR transactions every year. (Indian Express)
- In China, the average QR transaction value is around RMB 40.6 trillion per quarter. (Mobile Transaction)
- Global QR code transactions are projected to reach from $2.4 trillion in 2022 to $3 trillion in 2025. (NFCW)
Restaurants and hotels
The hospitality industry, including hotels and restaurants, has implemented QR codes in its end-to-end operations. This trend has grown significantly after the pandemic.
- 52% of all restaurants in the US have implemented QR code menus. (Restaurant.org)
- 33% of restaurant owners using QR codes have enhanced their business. (Restaurant.org)
Furthermore, some governments are taking the lead in QR code adoption in the restaurant industry.
- The Uruguay government, for example, has made it mandatory for high-street restaurants to place QR codes on their premises.
Food and product packaging
Smart packaging involves using codes and sensors to add digital capabilities to packaging. It has various applications, like tracking product location and sharing in-depth product information.
- The global smart packaging market was valued at $22 billion in 2020, and it’s projected to reach $38 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.5%. (Allied Market Research)
QR codes have been at the forefront of smart packaging. The QR code packaging market was valued at $5.3 billion in 2019 and was projected to grow at a CAGR of 8% in the upcoming years. (Packaging Insights)
Prominent brands like L’Oréal, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Frisky have enhanced their product packaging with QR codes.
- 57% of consumers have scanned a QR code on food packaging to get more information. (Statista)
- 43% of consumers said they’d scanned a QR code on product packaging to visit a brand’s website. 34% scanned a QR code to learn about the company or enter a contest, 25% did it to get a recipe, and 9% scanned a QR code to play a game. (Statista)
- 65% of Chinese consumers consider QR codes on product packaging essential for building trust. (Packaging Insights)
- The Asia Pacific region witnessed an 83% surge in QR codes for packaging between 2014 and 2018. (Mintel)
- QR codes play an instrumental role in making AR experiences available to users. The global AR and VR market is projected to grow by $162.71 billion by 2025. (PR Newswire)
- QR codes allow professionals to bring users to their digital business cards. The digital business cards market is projected to reach $242.3 million by 2027. (Market Research Future)
Pandemic and QR codes
Though QR codes have been around for almost three decades, their popularity has grown multifold after the pandemic. COVID-19 encouraged people to embrace a contactless world, giving rise to QR codes. Since the pandemic’s onset, the applications of QR codes have increased dramatically across all industries.
Let’s look at some statistics that showcase the impact of COVID-19 on the adoption of QR codes.
- QR code downloads have increased by 750% since the pandemic hit the world. (CNBC)
- Contactless payments in the US have surged 150% since March, 2019.25
- 18.8% of US consumers believe they’ve noticed a rise in the use of QR codes after the pandemic. (Statista)
- COVID-19 has accelerated contactless commerce, and 80% of payments and checkout services are anticipated to be contactless by 2024. (Gartner)
Future trends and projections
Even though the pandemic catalyzed the adoption of QR codes, their usage is still growing in the post-pandemic world. With prominent brands across industries using QR codes, it’s safe to assume that the usage and adoption of QR codes will continue to increase in the future.
Let’s look at some predictions and forecasts about QR codes.
- The number of US smartphone users is expected to reach 99.5 million in 2025, compared to 83.4 million in 2022. (Emarketer)
- 5.3 billion QR codes will be used for coupon redemption alone by the end of 2022. (Juniper Research)
- Moreover, over one billion smartphones will have access to QR codes by the end of 2022. (YouGov)
- The QR code labels market is projected to reach $2.1 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.9%. (FMI)
We compiled these statistics to help you realize the potential of QR codes and how you can use them to enhance your marketing and customer engagement efforts. QR codes are no longer a new trend that brands could use to wow their customers. The cost-effectiveness, versatility, and ease of use of QR codes have made them an essential marketing asset for all organizations.
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