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Study Says QR Codes Are Actually Useful?

There are still those who write about the death of QR codes. There are those that write about the faked Apollo 11 moon landing and people who claim Elvis is still alive. It would be no surprise if some people claimed QR codes are a government conspiracy. Reality, however, is a bitter pill for these nay-sayers to take, especially in light of a new report appearing on CNET that shows QR codes are actually useful. Oops!

QR Codes Aren’t Useless at All

The title from the recent article on CNET says it all but you should read on.

[pullquote]“Nielsen’s latest report on mobile payments isn’t too surprising, save one tidbit: people like using QR codes,”[/pullquote] writes author Donna Tam.

[pullquote]“The study, released Thursday, found that mobile payment users actually prefer methods involving quick response (QR) codes or bar codes. Almost half, 45 percent, of the nearly 4,000 people surveyed by Nielsen said they use the method to check out with their smartphones.”[/pullquote]

[pullquote]“Akin to bar codes, QR codes are blocks of printed code used to store large amounts of digital information. For a time, they were showing up everywhere — on product packaging, ads, marketing campaigns — but were seen as unnecessary or gimmicky. In mobile payments, cashiers can simply scan the codes displayed on a customer’s smartphone as they would any bar code.[/pullquote]

[pullquote]“Mobile payments are still a nascent industry, but it’s grown rapidly in recent years, with worldwide payments reaching $163.1 billion in 2012. That figure was estimated to jump to $235.4 billion by the end of last year, according to Gartner.[/pullquote]

For those marketers who use QR codes correctly and understand their power, this is no surprise. It seems the only thing that has held back QR codes are those who failed to use them incorrectly and the articles from writers who mistakenly come to the wrong assumption that the wrong usage is the fault of QR codes and not bad marketing planning. Blaming the tool for poor workmanship!

Paypal mobile payment
Image ©PayPal

The Statistics Don’t Lie and You Can See Them for Yourself

The article goes on to list some stats on the breakdown of the findings:

[one_fourth][chart percentage=”53″ size=”70″ barcolour=”” trackcolour=”” content=”female” align=”left”]
Mobile payment users were 47 percent male and 53 percent female.[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth][chart percentage=”55″ size=”70″ barcolour=”” trackcolour=”” content=”18-34″ align=”left”]
55 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34.[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth][chart percentage=”35″ size=”70″ barcolour=”” trackcolour=”” content=”35-54″ align=”left”]
35 percent were between the ages 35 and 54.[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][chart percentage=”71″ size=”70″ barcolour=”” trackcolour=”” content=”split” align=”left”]About half use mobile payments to split checks when eating out.[/one_fourth_last]


71 percent of peer-to-peer payment app users said they use the payments to “reduce tension around splitting the bill.”

Of the users who said they don’t use mobile payments as their primary payment method, 69 percent would become loyal users if merchants also offered rewards with the transactions.

(see updated stats by using this free QR code app that filters over a million global QR code scans by mobile device, age, country and gender)

The demographics of mobile device users who prefer QR codes also show the acceptance of QR codes as the go-to mobile payment system, even greater than NFC, as with Google Wallet or Isis.

“Nielsen’s findings are based on information collected from 3,784 survey respondents. These were people who are age 18 or older and had used their smartphone or tablet for shopping, banking, or paying within the 30-day period before the survey was conducted. The income of mobile payment users range widely, with the highest usage among those making less than $50,000 (32 percent) and more than $100,000 (29 percent).”

The Obvious Conclusion

Some might point to marketing failures as the reason for sour grapes when it comes to QR codes. That’s human nature and a digital Darwinism that forces weaker businesses into bankruptcy. Let people claim QR codes don’t work or are dead. They’re the ones who will lose out in the end… or rather their clients will lose out and that’s the biggest shame of all.

Top image ©GL Stock Images

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