When we talk about QR codes, most of us talk about QR codes on direct mail, business cards, and marketing collateral. But have you noticed how many QR codes (and other 2D barcodes) are showing up on packaging these days? The data are reflecting this trend, as well.
- In a survey of more than 100 marketers from both large and small businesses, Scanbuy, the developer of ScanLife, found that the top three media placement choices included magazines and newspapers, direct mail, and product packaging. 
- In a separate release of data from ScanLife’s system (raw data), the number one media scanned through the system is packaging, followed by the Web, direct mail, magazines, and in-store. 
- A comScore study from the EU5 put packaging as the second most popular media to be scanned at 38% , just behind newspapers and magazines.
If you look at the case studies, you see more and more packaging. In fact, in my life as a consumer I see as many QR codes on packages — if not more — than on marketing collateral these days.
What’s behind the trend? Mobile shopping. Consumers are getting used to looking for additional product information, coupons and discounts, and just generally being nosy (can I get something free from another brand’s packaging, even if I don’t actually buy the product?).
Last year, Experian reported that more than 33.3 million U.S. consumers were already engaged in shopping-related activities on their mobile phones (“2011 Mobile Consumer Report”). Indeed, 7%, or 2.3 million, of those consumers made a purchase on their devices. Others were using them to research products and compare prices. 
That trend is boosting the use of QR codes on product packaging, and it’s becoming pervasive. As I discuss in detail on my completely overhauled report on QR codes, this is just another place these codes are making their presence felt.