Tag: qr code trends

QR codes used more in United States than in Western Europe

QR Codes SurveyAmerican smartphone users are more likely to scan than those in the U.K., France, and Germany.

A recent survey by Pitney Bowes has shown that an American smartphone user is more likely to scan QR codes than those in Western Europe, no matter what the medium of delivery may be for those codes.

The results of this survey support those that were produced by other researchers at the same time.

The Pitney Bowes survey included the participation of 1,000 people from Europe, and 2,000 from the United States. When the QR codes were included in print magazines, almost twenty percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 scanned it. Similarly, 36 percent of participants from that country who were between the ages of 25 and 34 scanned one.

The results produced by eMarketer regarding Western European QR codes scans were notably lower.

Among Europeans, when QR codes were printed in magazines, Germany had the next highest percentage of scanners, where 27 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 used the barcodes. Among those between the ages of 25 and 34, 23 percent scanned them.

Overall, it was the respondents in the young adult category who had the greatest likelihood of scanning QR codes in a magazine. Among the participants in the survey, 27 percent in that age bracket had tried at least one. Those were the consumers who had a tendency to hold the greatest familiarity with barcode scanning on various other forms of printed materials, as well. Those included product packaging, posters, and mail. In fact, 21 percent said that they had tried all three of those.

They were, however, also the group who were the least likely to scan QR codes that were presented on a digital screen such as in an email (9 percent), on television (7 percent), or on a website (13 percent).

While they may not have gone mainstream in Europe, QR codes are still widely used in both the United States and in the European countries that were included in the survey. comScore recently reported that the number scanners of these barcodes in Germany had reached 5.1 million, there were 3.4 million in Spain (not included in Pitney Bowes’ survey), and 3.3 million in the U.K.

QR codes can be harmful when precautions aren’t taken

qr codes cautionMobile marketers love these barcodes , but as consumers embrace them, unscrupulous efforts grow.

It’s difficult to open a magazine or a flyer, these days, without seeing QR codes in all of the adds, but just as their popularity grows, so does their attractiveness to unethical individuals who would take advantage of this opportunity to cause harm.

These little black and white codes may look simple enough, but they may now pose an underlying threat.

It took quite a while for consumers to start to feel the enthusiasm for QR codes that mobile marketers have felt from the start. This has meant that individuals who would seek to use them for harmful purposes have left them alone for quite some time. But as the scanning trend continues to grow, so have the hazards associated with the activity.

Malicious QR codes have started to pop up here and there now that the technology has become commonplace.

Though it is still rare for malicious QR codes to appear, they have started showing up on occasion, and their impact can be quite damaging. This is because there are far more mobile device users that have barcode scanners than there are those who have protection against the type of attack that a tainted scan could present.

QR codes are meant to make it easy to redirect a device user to an app or a website to provide information, generate a download, view a video, or even to help buy a product or make a charitable donation. However, when a permissive reader app has been used, even a seemingly harmless scan could place the user’s privacy at risk.

The most common strategy that is used in order to encourage malicious barcode scans is simply to place a sticker with the harmful code overtop of the legitimate square. Therefore, one of the best efforts that a device user can make to protect his or her security is simply to double check that the QR codes they scan are printed directly onto materials from companies that they trust, and aren’t printed onto a sticker. Downloading a scanner app with built in protection is also a highly recommended activity.