Reports of the death of QR codes are greatly exaggerated!

Some readers will recognize this quote as paraphrasing Mark Twain’s humorous retort after newspapers falsely reported his death.  The quote could be equally applied to QR codes in the North America and Europe today.

QR (Quick Response) codes were first created by Toyota as a two-dimensional black and white bar codes for inventory tracking. They are now widely used in various contexts in China and Japan and apparently enabled $1.65 trillion in mobile payments in 2016.

barcode cellphone close up coded

Photo by Pixabay on

Codes come in various shapes and colours and represent text and numbers, including website URLs.  A QR code is read by a scanner downloaded to a smart phone, which either triggers an action or leads to a destination site.  As a consumer, you might make a purchase or SMS donation, go to a social network or access additional information or a video.  All with no internet connection.

For businesses, QR codes can be used on a variety of real-world items such as clothing, signage and packaging.    Business contemplating adopting QR codes should make it easy for customers to undertake actions without excessive reading or typing.  And a QR code at an airport, subway station or theatre makes more sense than a billboard on the highway, as smart phone users in the case of the former can easily and safely pull out their phones and scan the code.

apple applications apps cell phone

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on

For various reasons, QR codes were not widely adopted in the West and many observers predicated their total demise in recent years.  But there are strong indications that this is changing.  In 2017, industry leading Apple installed an active QR code e-reader in the camera app of its phones.  WhatsApp allows users to confirm a contact’s identity with a QR code.  And 34% of US smart phone users have scanned a QR code.  Juniper Research predicts that 5.3 billion QR coupon will be redeemed by mobile by 2022. 

And QR codes will also benefit consumers, non-profits and small businesses still using email in the immediate future (or as long as the tool is in use.  Some analysts have predicted that social media will prevail.)  Codes for sending emails will help read and monitor newsletters, email marketing and emails’ performance rates.  And consumers can scan a coupon and redeem in-store or on-line.

Get your own QR Code!

Have you ever scanned a QR code in the airport or to redeem a coupon?  What was your experience like?  Does your phone have an active QR code reader?   Can you see other applications for QR codes?  If you are interested in getting our own QR code, click here!

Twitter  QR codes are back.  Or were they ever absent?

Facebook  QR codes are back.  How you can maximize business and other opportunities

4 thoughts on “Reports of the death of QR codes are greatly exaggerated!

  1. I live beside the American Embassy. This summer they have a campaign with recipes incorporating produce and meats from different states. You can get them by scanning the QR code. Every time I walk by I think, who the hell uses those! So great article. I also recently learned QR codes are how our office coffee machine knows how to prepare each cup…so interesting that these codes, while maybe not as public facing, are internal in a lot of tech.

    • Thanks for your comment. I suspect that the sources I looked at were wildly optimistic about the use of QR codes and that it will really take adoption by newspapers and TV channels before they really catch on.

  2. I remember back in 2011 I worked for a Realtor and he was using a QR code (I don’t recall anyone using them much before 2010?). But, after a couple years he stopped using them because he said they hadn’t really caught on. As a designer, I’m not crazy about the aesthetics of them either. But, there are some programs where you can create shapes and colours out of your QR codes, so, for instance, they could look like a pink bunny. That might be fun. I wonder if they’d get more engagement that way? Maybe, with preteens/teenagers or even younger kids?

  3. I find it fascinating to learn that QR codes are not dead, that they are actually on the rise, and that Apple has installed a QR e-reader. I’m a millennial and while I’ve seen QR around it has never been something I’ve seen as particularly popular or trendy. Quite interesting to know it is on the rise again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.