Will QR code adoption in 2021 break 2020’s records?

QR code adoption - person holding phone displaying QR code

The barcodes are continuing to climb in popularity and use after having had their best year.

QR code adoption took off at unprecedented rates last year due to the impact of the pandemic as companies, governments and individuals sought ways to complete more tasks contact-free, simply and affordably.

That said, the usage trends this year are continuing to climb for the quick response codes.

This has led mobile marketing and commerce experts to speculate that 2021 may prove to be a bigger year for QR code adoption than last year.

The barcodes have been worked into everything from restaurants – instead of printed menus – to contact forms, and even location check-ins for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. Australia even saw a fashion show in December, at which runway models either held the quick response codes or had them affixed to robes they were wearing. This form of QR code adoption made it possible for audience members to scan and reveal more about the outfits or even purchase them.

That said, despite the occasional gimmicky use of the barcode, it has started to become a far more typical part of the daily marketing and operations of many types of business. As a result, it is unlikely that its use will be fading away anytime soon, particularly as the pandemic stretches on.


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As the first quarter of this year approaches completion, QR code adoption continues to rise.

A recent Tearsheet report cited research predicting that 11 million American household will be using quick response codes to make payments this year. Moreover, it also showed that about half of US restaurants now use them in some way.

“It’s replacing the physical menu, it’s going to replace the physical receipt, and even after everybody’s vaccinated, even after we go to where there’s no mask, I believe that QR codes are going to stay,” said VSoft senior vice president of payment solutions Kevin Olsen.

QR code adoption - person holding phone displaying QR codeAs a rising number of companies investigate ways to function via digital means – be it marketing, information, commerce or payments – quick response codes are now familiar, affordable and easy enough that they are becoming an automatic choice. Therefore, QR code adoption is expected to continue its rapid rise throughout 2021.

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