QR-codes Market in Russia and World

August 2012

Analytical Report (full version)

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Analytical Report (full version)

QR-codes Market in Russia and World
QR-codes Market in Russia and World
August 2012

QR-codes Market in Russia and World

August 2012

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J’son & Partners Consulting presents the results of the research «QR-codes market in Russia and world» conducted together with the companies SMARTEST and Wapstart.


QR-code (“Quick Response”) is a matrix two-dimensional (2D) barcode elaborated by auto producer Toyota department, a Japanese company Denso-Wave in 1994. Initially the technology was oriented for usage in auto segment, but then it became widespread in other segments. Unlike one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, QR-codes contain far more data and are represented as black-and-white squares. These are graphics images which are formed according to the special algorithm and thus the scanning program on a mobile device identifies barcode elements and process the encoded information.


One of the most essential drivers of QR-codes distribution in the world in consumer segment is the increase of the number of smart phones and tablet PC owners because with their help QR-codes become available to ultimate users. After scanning the user is automatically redirected to a proper web site where he gets more information about goods or services. An important factor of QR implementation increase is users’ awareness about the technology, for example, in Japan it is actively promoted through large-scale TV advertisement.


In developed countries there is a large number of QR codes usage in different segments (Table 1), thus it helps to increase business effectiveness and improve the life quality of people.




The Profile of Russian consumer


According to the survey of mobile phones owners in cities with the population of millions of people in Russia conducted by J’son & Partners Consulting together with the companies SMARTEST and Wapstart in July 2012, the third part of the respondents (33%) are informed about QR-codes, they know and understand how to use the technology. 59% know nothing about QR-codes and 8% are informed incorrectly (they fail in understanding of the technology) (Picture 1). 23% of users have already scanned QR-codes with their mobile phones, half of them (48%) do it all the time and used that option many times. 8% of the respondents are physically incapable of using the QR-technology because their mobile phones don’t have a camera, and the percentage of those who have a mobile phone with the camera but haven’t already scanned QR-codes compiles 69%. The respondents don’t use QR-codes for the following reasons: there’s no special program in their phone; they don’t know how to do it (44% both) and there’s no necessity (25%).


Thus, due to the efforts of the QR-codes market participants in promoting this technology, informing the population and implementing the services, a large part of potential QR-code users in Russia who aren’t informed about the technology and/or aren’t motivated to use it.



The largest part of QR-code users (84%) accessed a web site after scanning QR code; a third of them (33%) managed to receive the contact data of the user and save it in their mobile phone; 28% received an advertisement; 21% - another kind of content (music, images, presentations, etc.) and 8% - video. Only 6% noted that QR technology helped them to register for a flight, event, etc.; the same percentage of people managed to initiate an internet survey.



Main expectations of Russian mobile communication users from QR technology services are quick access to a web site, receipt of detailed information about goods or services, prompt saving of contact information of a person on a mobile phone, gaining of the discounts, use of QR-code as a means of identification, quick registration for a flight or train, etc.


In practice, In Russia QR-codes are successfully used in commerce, advertisement and marketing, as well as in such segments as logistics, banking sector and transport.

Thus, according to J’son & Partners Consulting data, at the moment QR-codes one way or the another are used in 6 out of 20 researches of retail networks, situated in Russia. For example, in IKEA stores the consumers using QR-codes can access a mobile promo site and get more information about current actions.

QR-codes are used by transport companies, air companies in particular, which offer their clients to register their boarding pass with the help of this technology. In outdoor advertising and printed mass media QR-codes are used to promote different kinds of goods from home appliance and electronics to automobile sales.


World experience


In developed countries QR-codes appear on billboards, in printed mass media, on goods labels, i.e. anywhere, where brands want to inform ultimate users about their goods and services in the most convenient and quick way.


In the world QR codes are most widely spread in retail sector (on goods labels), advertisement and coupon services. More often through this technology users want to get coupons and discounts, additional information about the products, as well as to pass the procedure of registration (for a flight, etc.) (Picture 2).


QR-codes are most popular in Japan (50% of mobile communication users use them), the USA (14 mln. users) and Great Britain (4 mln. users). According to the quantity of scanned QR-codes the leading countries are the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Japan1. Among smart phones operating systems, which were used for QR-codes scanning the most popular operating systems by the end of 2011 are iOS and Android which are far ahead of RIM (BlackBerry), Windows and Symbian (Nokia) (Picture 3). The biggest part took such operations initiated by QR-code as links to websites, receipt of the text and contact exchange (vCard).



QR-codes, most of all, are supposed to be a tool of advertising and marketing; they are widely used in retail trade. For example, in South Korea retailer Tesco applies this technology in interactive banners in subway – the customers can chose and order different goods which in some cases can be delivered by the time they get home. Due to this Tesco managed to increase its revenue from the service HomePlus by 130% in three months and the number of registered users by 76%.

Meanwhile QR technologies are successfully applied in such segments as banking sector, transport and logistics, medicine, education, social projects, etc.


Banking sector


Due to QR-codes banks effectively communicate with the clients. With the help of mobile application customers use:

Basic opportunities:


  • Search of the nearest automatic tellers
  • Search of the nearest branch bank
  • Search of discounts
  • Bank news
  • Rate of exchange
  • Special offers and products


In educational institutions


Pupils and students willingly use gadgets and new technological devices both in their daily life and in the process of education. In America with the help of QR-codes allocated in libraries students can easily find electronic versions of books, in their classes they can receive links to additional materials and also create their own codes and share their scientific works and tasks with group mates and teachers.


Transport and logistics


More and more air and railway companies including Russian put QR-codes on tickets, thus making the process of registration quicker. In London underground passengers get relevant information about the schedule. In logistics QR-codes make the process easier and quicker.


Design, Architecture and Art


QR-code, as an element of the modern design is used on clothes (the information about a person or a company is put on a T-shirt), household articles and even tattoo. As an exterior component QR-code can cover the whole façade of the building (for example, project design of business center in UAE). Artists use QR codes creating an additional reality for their posters, providing viewers the opportunity to see a video or listen to music. Another theme is QR engraving on gravestones telling the biography of the deceased.


Social actions


In Canada in June 2012 1300 people gathered to create a giant QR-code as an action in behalf of a charity organization «Youth unlimited north york» to help young generation through innovations. Giant QR-codes were created in different parts of the world as advertising and charity actions, every time gathering hundreds of people and causing the response in mass media.




Patients in medical institutions are also QR-codes users. The latter would be useful in search of the information about medicines, attending doctors and hospital departments generally, as well as recommendation about prevention and treatment of the decease. This is an effective tool for doctors to maintain a card-index register, for archiving, interactive access to medical history of the patients and communication with them.



Both large corporations express their interest for QR-codes (11 out of Fortune companies take them into account in their marketing strategy), and small-scale business representatives for whom QR-code is an effective and economical way to give more interesting information about themselves to their potential clients, expand audience, speak common language with “digital” users.


In the United States QR-codes are used both in small-scale business and in large network companies. Thus, American network of fact food restaurants Taco Bell used QR-codes on the labels, with the codes their clients access MTV video content. Procter and Gamble and Kraft Foods used QR-codes as discount coupons. Network HSN (Home Shopping Network) led a four-day marathon where QR-code with the link to detailed information about the products was represented in the low part of TV. Thus, marketers led an action most of all oriented towards the receipt of exhaustive information about the products. Also, using QR-metrics marketers can make a more detailed consumer profile, than in case of using traditional means. The owner of the company ICEkeytags in Texas claims that QR-codes can help small-scale business compete with large companies. At a low cost small-scale business can provide relevant data for the target audience and due to QR-advertising specificity the material can be renewed without substantial costs.


The answers of the respondents confirm the opinion of small-scale business representatives:



It is important to note that a distinct governing body isn’t necessary to promote QR technologies; enterprises of any scale can use it, starting with the SOHO segment and ending with famous brands. As a rule high costs are not required while the effectiveness can be sufficiently raised. (Table 2).



In general the list of possible QR-code applications includes the following options:


  • coupons and special offers;
  • special information and exclusive offers;
  • contests and bonuses;
  • constant discounts;
  • automatical links to special pages on sites, social network or blog;
  • feedback of the consumers;
  • booklets and additional marketing materials;
  • transport means;
  • price tags and labels;
  • restaurant menu and recipes;
  • tickets to events;
  • sale receipt;
  • displays in shops;
  • translations into different languages;
  • business cards;
  • e-mail marketing;
  • TV advertisement;
  • social networks;
  • order of goods and services;
  • …and many others.




According to J'son & Partners Consulting estimations, Russian QR-codes market will develop with a 2-3-year lag as compared to the USA and Western Europe. By the end of 2012 the number of QR-codes users in Russia will compile about 15% of the number of smart phones owners or 9 mln. users, i.e. will grow by 9 times as compared to 1,1 mln. users at the end of 2011.


The main driver will be the increase of modern smart phones with embedded cameras implementation and business determination to raise its effectiveness by means of innovative advertising with the use of QR-codes as well.



Information about the companies


J'son & Partners Consulting (www.json.ru) is a leading international consulting company, specializing in telecommunication, media, IT and innovative technology markets in Russia, CIS and Central Asia since 1996.


SMARTEST (www.smrtest.ru) is a leading mobile survey and research company in Russia and CIS countries providing services of survey conducting in 22 countries of the world. The company uses modern OnDevice (UK) platform of mobile survey that allows provide relevant data in short terms.


WapStart (http://www.wapstart.ru) is the largest owner of mobile advertising network Plus1 WapStart and the most full and popular catalogue of mobile sites Top WapStart in Russia. The company provides services for thousands of mobile sites and applications developers. Monthly advertising volume of WapStart compiles more than 1,7 mlrd of views, the number of unique visitors is more than 12 mln a month. The company possesses advanced technologies of targeting and audience analysis, thus helping to lead advertising campaigns in mobile environment with high investment profitability.


Report contents «QR-codes market in Russia and the world»


Table of contents
1. Technological basics of QR-codes application
  1.1. About the technology
  1.2. QR-code comparison with other types of 2D-codes
  1.3. Services for QR-codes creation
  1.4. Programs for code reading for different platforms
  1.5. Statistics and prognoses
2. Practical QR-codes usage
  2.1. Traditional spheres of QR-codes usage
  2.2. Alternative methods of QR-codes usage
  2.3. Practice of usage in different segments
      2.3.1. Travelling and tourism
      2.3.2. Pharmacy and medicine
      2.3.3. Transport and logistics
      2.3.4. Art and design
      2.3.5. Other segments
  2.4. Specific features of usage in developed countries
      2.4.1. South Korea
      2.4.2. Japan
      2.4.3. The USA
      2.4.4. Great Britain
3. Practice of QR-codes usage in Russia
  3.1. Retail networks
  3.2. Travel companies
  3.3. Banking sector
  3.4. Marketing and advertisement
4. Consumer experience in QR-codes usage in Russia
  4.1. QR-code presence in Russia: Note all the cases when you have seen these codes
  4.2. Knowledge and understanding of QR-codes usage: Do you know how this code can be used? Do you know exactly how to use it?
  4.3. Consumer experience: Have you already scanned such codes with your mobile phones? How many times have you scanned it? Why haven’t you scanned it?
  4.4. Obstacles for QR-codes usage: On what conditions will you download a program for QR-codes scanning in your mobile and start using it? Where do you want to receive the information about the program for QR-code scanning?
  4.5. Experience of QR-codes usage: What happened after your scanning of QR-code with your mobile phone?
  4.6. Consumers` expectations from QR-codes: In what situation among the situations given above you will use QR-code?
  4.7. Characteristic features of the research audience (sex, education, age, type of employment).
Conclusions and recommendations

List of pictures:
Picture 1. Comparison of QR models and barcodes
Picture 2. Microsoft Tags
Picture 3. Data matrix Code
Picture 4. The number of scanned QR-codes with the use of different OS in 2011
Picture 5. Browsers, used to download YouScan application, 2011
Picture 6. The number of scanned QR-codes with YouScan application disaggregated to the countries, 2011
Picture 7. QR-code usage in the world
Picture 8. Spheres of QR-codes usage
Picture 9. QR-codes scanning in the world
Picture 10. Creation of QR-codes in the world
Picture 11. The number of read UPC: Top 10 categories of products
Picture 12. Specific features of QR-code usage, Q1 2012-Q1-2011
Picture 13. QR-code users` distribution according to sex and age, Q1 2010-Q1 2011
Picture 14. QR-code users` preferences, Q1 2010-Q1 2011
Picture 15. QR-code usage by smart phones owners, May, 2012
Picture 16. Age of QR-codes users, USA, June 2011
Picture 17. Yearly revenue of QR-codes users, USA, June, 2011
Picture 18. Places of QR-codes allocation, USA, June, 2011
Picture 19. Places of QR-codes scanning, USA, June, 2011
Picture 20. The percent of advertisement pages with the operation code in printed media of the USA, 2011-2012
Picture 21. Distribution of action codes of different types, put in printed mass media, USA, 2011-2012
Picture 22. Top brands and segments using QR-codes
Picture 23. Top 10 magazines using QR-codes
Picture 24. The goal of action codes usage
Picture 25. QR-code usage in Great Britain

List of tables:
Table 1. Software for QR-codes discernment
Table 2. Types of QR-scanners
Table 3. Users preferences in QR-codes usage
Table 4. Mall sample
Table 5. Specific features of QR-codes allocation in store departments
Table 6. SWOT-analysis of QR-codes usage in retail network Best Buy
Table 7. QR-codes usage in major Russian retail networks


Information ballot is prepared by the company J'son & Partners Consulting. We do our best to provide you with factual and prognostic data reflecting the whole situation and being at our disposal at the moment of the material publication. J'son & Partners Consulting reserves the right to revise the data after publication of new official information by distinct players.


J’son & Partners Consulting presents the results of the research «QR-codes market in Russia and world» conducted together with the companies SMARTEST and Wapstart.