700% Surge in Barcode Scans, Often 2D

October 19, 2010

CPG manufacturers are applying technology to build buzz at the store shelf and in front of the television at home.

CPG manufacturers are applying technology to build buzz at the store shelf and in front of the television at home. They recognize that by giving people immediate access to fuller product information, discounts and rewards, they engage them more fully in the moments when interest is high and could possibly swing purchase decisions in their favor.

This is also beginning to happen at home. Consumers watching a Bluefly.com commercial on the Bravo Network can use a cell phone to scan a Quick Response (QR) bar code on the TV screen, which in turn launches a full episode of a fashion program and $30 discount off of a $150 Bluefly.com purchase, reports The New York Times.  This same principle could be used with consumer packaged goods products.

The advent of 2D barcodes – which launches a video or other information on a camera phone once a package bar code is scanned – isn’t spanking new. Consumer acceptance of them is. According to the Inaugural ScanLife Mobile Barcode Trend Report, issued by ScanBuy, Inc.:

  • Consumers’ barcode scanning through the ScanLife platform has soared 700% from January 2010 levels until today. 
  • Since July 2010, more scans occurred in a single month than in all of 2009.  
  • The fairly equal scanning activity of 1D and 2D barcodes means “people are less concerned with code format and more interested in getting information quickly,” says ScanLife.
  • The 2D code is most often (85% of the time) used to connect people to a website.

The most frequent UPC scans occur on everyday products commonly found in the kitchen or bathroom – health and beauty care has a 21.2% share of such activity, and grocery has a 14.4% share, the ScanBuy report notes.  

The highest-indexing states on scanning activity are California, New York, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Exactly 50% of people who scan are in the 35 to 54 age group, while 24% are 25 to 34, and 55-and-older are just 7%. Scanning also occurs across a diverse range of age groups.

This is largely, but by no means exclusively, a young person’s game, says The Lempert Report. As retailers and brand marketers plot their use of this technology, they should address the aspirations and information needs of multiple demographic groups.