Despite the huge success the barcodes are achieving in China, there are still those who cling to doubt.
Over the last few years, as mobile marketers have been learning the ropes for the proper use of QR codes, some of the epic failures have overshadowed the many massive successes that their campaigns have achieved.
This has caused a general level of controversy to build over the value of using the barcodes.
Strangely, even though QR codes seem to be coming into their own, doubters have become quite rigid in their perception of the barcodes and have refused to look at the many massive national and international campaigns that have generated donations, built use, and have created conversions.
QR codes have been popular in Japan for many years, having been created there two decades ago.
That said, the Western markets have been less welcoming to the use of QR codes. It has been speculated that this is due to the misuse of the technology, as far too many mobile marketers were using it simply as a rapid way to enter a homepage URL into a mobile device. The companies that have realized that smartphone technologies require smartphone strategies – that is, relevance and precision, not simply general interest – have started to turn this circumstance around.
Businesses in China have caught on to the proper use of QR codes far faster than their Western counterparts. A newly released report published by Meeker based on their most recent study has shown that the use of these barcodes have taken off in that country. In fact, the number of the black and white squares that are being scanned each month has quadrupled, year over year.
Chinese QR codes are now being scanned at a rate of 9 million per month. This is an increase of four times over the 2 million per month that were being scanned in 2012. They are being used for a broad range of highly practical reasons.
The study showed that 42 percent of QR codes are being used in China as passcodes (for coupon redemption, reward programs, check-ins, tickets, etc.), 33 percent are scanned from promotions (such as billboards, print ads, other forms of advertising, etc.), 22 percent of the scans are for information (nutrition content, business card exchanges, etc.), and 3 percent are a part of mobile payments transactions.