QR code usage in Ireland doubles

Close to 1m Irish consumers now scan QR codes, according to digital marketing firm Return2Sender.

The number of Irish adults now using QR codes on a monthly basis has doubled since January 2020.

New figures from Return2Sender indicate that QR codes have now reached mass market adoption levels in Ireland and can be considered a viable option for marketers.

“This is how technology works, it kind of bubbles under the surface and then there’s a tipping point where a big event happens, like Covid-19, and people learn from each other and adopt the technology”

According to Return2Sender QR code usage has doubled in nine months. In January 2020, pre-Covid19, the same research revealed that 11pc of adults scanned a QR code monthly.  Research conducted in September 2020, reveals 21pc of adults have scanned a QR code.

25pc of Irish adults scan a QR code more than once per quarter as of 1st October 2020

Almost 1 million Irish consumers now scan QR codes at least once a quarter (up from 1 in 7 at the end of 2019).

Consumers who scan QR codes on a quarterly basis continue to be predominantly from the under-50 age group, ABC1, working full time, and urban dwellers; particularly Dublin.

The rise in usage is attributed to Covid-conscious consumers being educated to scan QR codes to access non touch information like menus, vouchers, tickets, click and collect services, government information, brochures, etc.

The other interesting fact is that the majority of consumers are now using the native phone camera viewfinder to use QR codes whereas previously consumers were using third party apps or unreliable QR code scanner apps.

QR codes no longer a running joke?

“QR codes have always been a bit of a running joke in the marketing industry, they were an interesting addition to print and packaging, and potentially very useful, but the general consensus was that people just didn’t use them,” said Return2Sender managing director Donald Douglas.

“But now, because of Covid-19, where consumers are being encouraged to scan QR codes to access things like menus, travel, retail and government information, this technology has entered the mainstream.

“This is how technology works, it kind of bubbles under the surface and then there’s a tipping point where a big event happens, like Covid-19, and people learn from each other and adopt the technology.”

Founded in 2001, Return2Sender is a mobile marketing agency specialising in app development, augmented reality and QR code and SMS/WhatsApp marketing. Its clients include Diageo, Coca-Cola, C&C, Just Eat and Bank Of Ireland.

“Looking back there have been some key technology moments like in 1953 when Queen Elizabeth’s coronation appeared in colour triggering mass adoption of colour TV and in later years, SMS marketing was kick-started by voting in Pop Idol ( remember Will Young and Gareth Gates anyone?), Pokemon Go! kickstarted augmented reality gaming in 2016 and Snapchat kick-started augmented reality lenses with the Dancing Hotdog in 2017.

The benefits to Marketers using QR codes are very simple: they make their existing communications work harder and reduce that tiny bit of friction between people seeing an ad and acting on it.

“And for FMCG packaging owners, especially during Covid-19, they can leverage a valuable asset for loyalty, and, as a jump off point for camera driven augmented reality activations like competitions, recipes, mini games, filters and fun lenses. They can also provide marketers with some interesting stats like what time the person acted on the QR code, what device they used and where geographically they acted on the QR code.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 13 November, 2020