October 1, 2012, 3:36 PM

Use of QR codes doubles among European smartphone owners

Nearly three in four users are scanning to obtain product information, comScore finds.

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The number of smartphone users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. scanning QR codes increased by 96% in the past year to 17.4 million users in July 2012, representing 14.1% of the total 123.4 million smartphone users, according to new research from web and mobile measurement firm comScore Inc.

The number of smartphone users in Spain scanning QR codes increased by nine percentage points to 16.0%, making it not only the fastest-growing European market but also the second biggest market in terms of penetration, comScore finds. Germany ranked first by penetration of QR codes with 18.6% of the smartphone audience making use of the technology.

Following are the countries, the number of smartphone users in millions who have scanned QR codes, the growth from July 2011 to July 2012, and the percent of the total number of smartphone users who have scanned QR codes, according to comScore:

  • France, 2.8, 71%, 12.5%
  • Germany, 5.1, 128%, 18.6%
  • Italy, 2.8, 75%, 11.9%
  • Spain, 3.4, 218%, 16.0%
  • U.K., 3.3, 43%, 11.4%

71.7% of smartphone users in the five European countries scanned QR codes that led to product information, by far the most popular result, comScore finds. 31.8% obtained event information, 19.4% a coupon or offer, 13.4% an app download, and 12.1% charity information.

“Consumer usage of QR codes offers a new and exciting opportunity for marketers to help move consumers further down the purchase funnel,” says Hesham Al-Jehani, European mobile product manager at comScore. “By offering more detailed product information or related content, QR codes bring consumers vital information in their consideration of a particular product or service. With smartphones now in the majority of consumers’ pockets, access to the sort of information they might get on their computer when researching a product online can help retailers improve their conversion in-store.”

Overall in the five European countries, 51.3% of mobile phone owners used a smartphone in July 2012, 83.3% sent a text message, 45.2% used an app, 44.6% browsed the web, and 30.6% accessed a social network or blog, according to comScore.

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