February 1, 2012, 11:56 AM

Bar code scanning goes through the roof

2011 registered a 297% increase over 2010 via the ScanLife reader, Scanbuy reports.

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It seems consumers are becoming fond of bar code scanning apps for their smartphones, apps that can be used to find more information about products, watch videos, shop an m-commerce site, enter contests, compare prices and much more.

Scanbuy, a QR code purveyor and Quick Response marketing campaign manager, registered 31 million scans of 1-D and 2-D bar codes worldwide in 2011 through its ScanLife app. That’s up 297% from 7.8 million in 2010. There were 11 million scans in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 175% from 4 million in Q4 2010. There were more bar code scans through ScanLife in Q4 2011 than in all of 2009 and 2010 combined, Scanbuy says.

68% of all scans in 2011 were of 2-D bar codes; 32% 1-D. 73% of scans in Q4 2011 were of 2-D bar codes; 27% 1-D.

The Universal Product Code, or UPC, is a one-dimensional bar code found on virtually all consumer goods. Scanning a 1-D code can lead to product information hosted on the mobile web by a scanning company, a comparison shopping engine, a retailer or other companies.

A QR code is a form of two-dimensional bar code. It appears typically as a black-and-white square with a pattern of tiny black-and-white squares within; sometimes a company may include its logo within the square. A consumer downloads a QR code scanner app, such as ScanLife, onto his smartphone. He opens the app, points the smartphone camera at the QR code, and the app reads the code and then connects him to mobile web-based content.

More than 15 million consumers have used the ScanLife app, Scanbuy reports, with three million new users in Q4 2011. The U.S. is No. 1 in scanning, followed by Spain, Canada, Denmark, France, the U.K., Germany, Mexico, Brazil and Israel.

63% of ScanLife users are male, 37% are female, Scanbuy says. 11% are under 18 years old, 22% are 18-24, 28% are 25-34, 22% are 35-44, 10% are 45-54, and 7% are 55 or older.

“Thousands of marketers are using our platform to create, manage and track their QR Code activity,” says Mike Wehrs, president and CEO of Scanbuy. “They range from local businesses up to Fortune 500 brands like Coca Cola, Home Depot and Starbucks. They use our cloud-based platform to create experiences that can launch a variety of mobile actions that can be changed whenever they want.”

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