In mid-December, Business Insider published some research data regarding global smartphone usage. “By the end of 2013, global smartphone penetration will have exploded from 5% of the global population in 2009, to 22%.” Furthermore, 2 in 9 people on earth will own a smartphone by the end of 2013 – totaling to 1.4 billion smartphone. Marketing research company, eMarketer, predicted that by 2014 smartphone users will total to 1.75 billion! The alarming rate in which smartphone users are increasing changes the way businesses communicate with us today. Social media allows consumers to access information immediately from marketers via websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Since information is constantly updating and instantly accessible with mobile applications, the use of the QR code, dismissed by many as too much of a hassle, is quickly diminishing.
QR codes, or quick response codes, have the potential to be powerful in the way it can attract visual curiosity and offer easy access to information such as “links, text messages, or videos”(adage.com). Consider it a free interactive package contained within an image. However, accessing the digital content within the image can be confusing for some – QR code readers need to be downloaded via a smartphone in order to scan the code. As a result, in a 2012 study it was shown that only 5% of American smartphone users take advantage of them – most of them young, affluent males. Sometimes businesses use QR codes in a way that disrupts the flow or practicality of a design. B.L. Ochman, a writer for adage.com, argues they can be made too large to scan or placed in an area where phone service is unavailable. Despite the waning popularity of the QR code, there are a few appealing uses shown in the following advertisements.