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I know that QR codes are used a lot in some cultures (e.g. Japan) but are there any statistics on world wide and/or country specific usage? To be honest, I've never seen anybody use a QR code where I live.

Background: We're thinking about implementing QR codes on a classified website (customers can print their ads in newspapers, on handouts etc. - a widely used feature).

And of course: And are there any good alternatives to make the switch from print to mobile/web easier for the user? (printing URLs or "quick links" doesn't count ;-))

Update: Just found an interesting thread on Quora about QR codes adoption:

Update II: LukeW just published some stats on Mobile QR usage

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I asked a similar question before: – jonshariat May 10 '11 at 22:16
Thanks for the hint. I've seen the question and I've read the answers - interesting, but no stats or alternatives and I can't afford to put a QR code on every print just because it doesn't do any harm (uses valuable print-space and takes time and money to implement). – Phil May 10 '11 at 22:26
In that case I can share the stats I have found. – jonshariat May 10 '11 at 22:47
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The stats differ a bit but to sum them all up: they all say that about 50% know what it is, 1/3 have used, few use them frequently and most of the people who use them to go to a website.

Also, they all show huge growth. So if its not the right time for your company now, it may be soon. Q4 of last year they grew 13x. So if you guys use them you could be deemed "hip" but if that is not your target market (if your market is 35+) than you may want to wait.

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Thanks for the links. Unfortunately there is no word on where the surveys were done (I guess USA). My problem is that the Swiss market is very different from other markets so I can't really rely on international or US studies. Our target market is 18+ (not what you think ;-)). – Phil May 11 '11 at 7:01
QR codes <could> however be really useful for older people ( ie by converting the small print on medicine instructions to large print on a dedicated QR reader) – PhillipW May 11 '11 at 9:17
@PhilipW: True... It makes me wonder if there isn't anything more elegant. I just don't see older people grab their mobile phone, start and app and take a picture of a QR code to get a more readable version of something - it seems like quite a complicated and abstract process. – Phil May 11 '11 at 10:33
Good point Philip. Perhaps for that age range another solution involving QR codes could work. But it still would take user training and perhaps intermediary devices. – jonshariat May 11 '11 at 18:55
Does anyone remember reading Joel's piece on the CueCat? [] It's quite old now, but worth another read, even if just for the laugh. – phinetune May 16 '11 at 6:51

According to Comscore "14 Million Americans Scanned QR Codes on their Mobile Phones in June 2011", representing about 6.2% of the total mobile audience.

In comparison 4.6% of mobile users and 9.8% of smartphone owners scanned a QR or bar code during the month of June 2011 in the EU5 region (including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK).

Both reports showed that the majority of people scan QR codes at home.

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