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The Real Size of the QR Codes Market

Why QR codes are Important?

QR codes are the major link between: 

  1. Print Media
  2. Online Media, and 
  3. Smartphones

Don't you think these 3 covers almost all the major media we have today? Before QR codes, Print Media and Online Media were competing head to head. But, QR Code has made both complementary to each other.

Semi Nude QR Code by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Online Adult Video Commercial was first hosted and the QR code was placed on a Billboard in New York City.

Evaluating QR Code Market Size

Accroding to the 3 media that QR code connects, if you go for Subset Concept, then the lowest number (smartphones) would be your maximum market size, since the print and online media is larger. But, the maximum market size also has many other subsets.

And I am afraid that we are actually being shown only the Subset of the Subset of the total market. e.g. if you are going to believe that the market size is actually the number of users that uses QR codes, that's really injustice to the stat. It's actually not about numbers, it is also about possibilities.

Why Mere Numbers are not Enough

[Rant]Re-iterating, it is not actually the numbers of smartphones[/Rant]. Because, the facts are:

  • Behind each Smartphone, there are people and people are getting smartphones every day
  • It's not that a smartphone scans only one QR code in their lifetime
  • And it's not that a person scans only one QR code when he has a smartphone
  • Internet Media is more trackable than print media, just for this sake, businesses will want to push people to land on online media
  • QR codes make print media more interactive (just think, you now can comment on an article your read in print media on a Web 2.0 site)
  • You even can show more than a print media can (e.g. you can show full video commercial for a product from it's label) so print media would take advantage of it
  • Online Media professionals would want more traffic, so they would like to embrace print media also with QR codes

So, it's actually not about the number of smartphones or the number of people holding one. It is about the the possibilities that it offers and the possibilities that are still untapped.

The Real Figures of QR Code Market Size

Timeline of QR Code Usages in Various Demographics - A Study by Emarketer

Study Courtesy: Emarketer

The article on Emarketer shows that the usage of QR Code is in a steady pace. Frustratingly, people are not getting into using QR codes much. My hunch is, it's actually based on the Subset of the Subset I was talking about earlier.

To me this stat is a bit frustrating. The most frustrating thing is that, it is mostly used by users for getting coupons.

The Major Reasons for Using QR codes

Study by Emarketer

Waiting for that Spark

But, as the untapped possibilities start to unveil, the use will sky rocket. The market is waiting to be boosted. I really don't think it is users' fault. Businesses are failing to utilize it heavily. Moreover, it's just that businesses are not coming up with great ideas for QR Code utilization.

And starting from marketing to service delivery, from commercials to humor, everywhere QR codes will rule, because I don't think Print Media is going away anytime soon. So, there will always demand for such loopholes to jump between dimensions (aka media - print vs. online).

Some Predictions

Those who disbelive, please mark my word that these will happen in future:

  • The number of Facebook Page likes and online votes from QR codes will surpass the number of clicks from web
  • Much of Facebook and other social media shares made from real life objects, places, and incident/events will be influenced heavily by QR codes
  • As online purchase grows, day to day product purchase decissions will be made on roads and certain portion of it will be influenced by QR codes. Seen some QR Code shops on the subway of Korea, don't think that this will not grow in other parts of the world
  • Each print newspaper and magazines will encourage online voice of public, ensuring this from print media is possible only with QR codes
  • Travel sites will post QR codes in prominent places to educate people about a specific location
  • Every print ticket in the world will have QR codes
  • Each billboard will push people to online media or mobile phone calls/SMS with QR codes
  • Street prostitutes will wear QR code t-shirts to show their unexposed videos online
  • QR Code will play major role in Political Marketing

I really can go on and make a 101 list. If you still beleive that the QR codes market size is not that big or not that promising, then you just have not seen much success in life [sorry for the insult].

Join The Conversation

  • LenaMartin's picture
    Nov 29 Posted 4 years ago SBTelegram

    Fascinating tips and facts about QR codes. There are still a lot of people who have no idea what a QR code is for, though, and one example of that is my friend. It was a pain trying to explain just what it's for without an example in hand. Great article, though! Here's another. http://blog.printplace.com/printed-media-qr-codes-increased-customer-interaction/

  • RogerSmolski's picture
    Nov 10 Posted 4 years ago RogerSmolski

    'QR Code Market' is a non sequitur. QR Codes are simply a physical link rather than a hyperlink and we don't talk about the 'Hyperlink Market' do we? Neither are QR Codes a call to action, although many inexperienced marketers have yet to realize that this is the case.

    As the technology quickly matures people use QR Codes to get to what's at the other end not because they see one and think 'great there is a QR Code I think I will scan it and see what happens'.

    If you want to know the future of QR Codes in other countries look no further than Japan where QR Codes have been ubiquitous for many years. The average Japanese consumer scans a QR Code 1.24 times per week. The three main reasons given for scanning the codes are 31.6% to use a coupon, 30.9% to apply for a special promotion and 22.7% to have more information on a product.

    A QR Code is simply a key to unlock value for the consumer, nothing more.


  • seoppcsmm's picture
    Sep 25 Posted 4 years ago seoexpertbd

    Andrew, I did mention that it is not the users' fault. It can be raised to a great level, if businesses come up with new idea. Like they did with social media. As more and more businesses starts to use them, raising the numbers will not be a problem. But, at this moment, telling exact figures is not possible.

  • Sep 25 Posted 4 years ago Andrew Pecchia

    Can you  put  a  quanatative  number  on  how  big   the  qr  market  will be  worth?

    are  we  talking 50billion  in  2 years   etc  etc .. i  erad  recently  the  couponing   will be  worth  that 

    much by  2015.    Thanks  in  advance

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