QR codes – Are they set to stay the course this time?
June 24th, 2022, Kineree Shah

QR codes – Are they set to stay the course this time?

QR codes have made a comeback thanks to people preferring touchless menus and transactions more than ever now. But having already once faded into relative obscurity, are they set to do so again, post-pandemic?

In a new 18-market study, YouGov data reveals that marketers can count on the high rate of QR code usage. What’s more, notable shares of consumers from around the world say they plan to use QR codes even more often.

Globally, two-thirds of consumers agree that QR codes are easy to use. In fact, in every market but Denmark and the US (50% and 44% respectively), a clear majority of consumers find the codes a simple way to access information.

Globally, a plurality of consumers are using the codes more than they did before the pandemic – and that makes sense since many more restaurants, cafes and other retailers are offering them. But 28% still say that they’re still not using the coded squares more than they used to.

Seeing the trends in Asia, more than three-quarters of consumers in China (81%), Hong Kong (78%), India (77%), and Singapore (74%) agree that they are using QR codes more actively than before.

In Europe, behaviour is divided. More than half of consumers in Spain (60%) agreed to the statement whereas nearly a quarter disagreed. In other European markets, behavior is less likely to have changed – although in each market a sizeable chunk of people are using QR codes more than they used to (between 22% and 56%).

More than half Mexicans said they were using QR codes more actively but about a quarter say they are not.

Moving forward, when YouGov asked consumers if they were planning to increase the usage of QR codes nearly two in five consumers agreed globally but at least a quarter say they have no plans to.

India (78%), Hong Kong (77%), and China (77%) were at the forefront again with more than three-quarters of people saying yes, followed closely by Indonesia (65%), Singapore (64%), and UAE (64%). The European market was divided once more. About half of all Italians and Spaniards say they plan to use QR more frequently in contrast to Germany and France who more say they don’t. Britons are divided equally between agree and disagree (29% each). At least one in five consumers from Europe did not know if they would be using QR codes more in the future.

In Canada and the US, consumers are much more evenly split between the options. Mexico once again took the lead among North America markets with a majority planning to use QR codes more frequently.

The data shows marketers that while QR codes have enjoyed a rejuvenation during the pandemic, relying upon them as a single access point is unlikely to be popular with all consumers. The public’s behavior when it comes to information access remains, as it ever has been, varied.

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 508 and 2065 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in May 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.