10+ QR Code Statistics & Usage Trends You Should Know

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QR codes have quickly become a key tool in bringing the digital and physical worlds together.

While they were first a logistical tool, like any revolutionary technology, they now have more practical applications than one could have imagined. 

I gathered a few QR code statistics and trends to give you a better idea of how QR codes are impacting the world right now. 

Let’s get started.

Top QR Code Stats

Here are the five most interesting QR code statistics I found; read on to find more details on these. 

  • 94.7 million people use smartphone QR code scanners in the US. 
  • URLs account for 47.68% of all QR code solutions.  
  • The YoY growth of global QR code creations is 41%
  • The YoY growth of QR code creations has increased by 156% for small businesses. 
  • 80% of people in the US who use QR codes think they are safe.

The Current State of QR Codes

In 2011, 79% of internet users didn’t know what a QR code was. Things are different today as QR codes are being integrated into most online systems.

Here’s where we’re at with Quick Response codes in 2024.

94.7 million people use smartphone QR code scanners in the US. (Statista)

smartphone QR code scanner usage

In comparison, in 2019, only 52.6 million people used QR code scanners for payments and other activities.

Statista also estimates that by 2025, the number will reach 99.5 million people. That’s almost 30% of the population in the US. 

The study found that most users are using QR codes for payments, such as Tap to Pay mobile payment methods.

But it also takes into account other uses of QR codes, such as scanning menus at restaurants, scanning codes for retail products, and scanning wifi QR codes.

Year-on-year growth of global QR code creation increased by 47% each year.

increase in QR code usage
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The U.S. is leading the charge in the growth of QR codes, accounting for 43.96% of all QR code scans. 

Ease of creation and use are among the key factors in QR codes becoming more common.

That, along with dedicated SaaS companies that offer QR code-related services are allowing the industry to bloom. 

For the most part, businesses in the healthcare, retail, hospitality, and education industries are adopting QR codes exponentially.

But other industries are also catching up.

URLs account for 47.68% of all QR code solutions.

popular QR code solutions
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If you have scanned a QR code and it showed you a URL or redirected you to a webpage, you’ve used a QR-based URL solution. 

It’s become a common use for QR codes because it saves people the trouble of typing out a webpage or searching for it.

For the business, it saves time, effort, and sometimes money to adopt QR codes. 

For example, some restaurants have URL-based menus that customers can scan and check out. It saves the restaurant money because they don’t have to print their menus.

39% of US QR code users make payments through QR code tech. (Scantrust)

most popular QR code usage
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The study also found that 34% of people use QR codes to get more product information, especially with foods and drinks. 

15% of QR code users use them to view menus and 7% use them to check out special offers. 3% use them to find out more information about promotions. 

Only 1% of respondents said that they use QR codes to check product authenticity and ethical standards. 

What’s evident here is that people are using QR codes, primarily for convenience over everything else.

99% of advertisers believe companies need to leverage QR codes to target Gen Z customers. (Statista)
role of QR codes in advertising
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Furthermore, 98% of advertisers believe that QR codes will be essential in DOOH (Digital out of Home) campaigns. 

45% of advertisers believe that QR codes facilitate sales, in addition to boosting brand awareness.

Meanwhile, 54% believe that QR codes have a key role in supporting sales.

The YoY growth of global QR code creations is 41%.

growth of global qr code creations
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Since the pandemic in 2020, there has been a sharp increase in the usage of QR codes. From 68% growth in 2020, we saw a 102% growth in 2021, among other booms. 

Then, the growth rate dropped a bit to 87% in 2022, dropping further to 41% in 2023. 

That being said, this decline in growth has less to do with QR codes themselves.

It has more to do with how businesses and the world started getting back to normalized growth rates after the pandemic.

QR Code Market Statistics

The QR code industry continues to evolve as startups offer new QR code-related technologies.

This is leading to QR codes becoming common in most industries and devices nowadays.

There has been a 323% increase in QR code creation in the marketing and advertising industry since 2021.

top qr code industries
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QR codes are part of many marketing promotions and campaigns today. From in-store packaging to product packaging, printed materials, and online ads, QR codes are overtaking the marketing industry. 

The idea is to make the entire process more interactive and convenient simultaneously.

Overtly saturated marketing strategies are leading to companies focusing more on interaction-based advertising over traditional ads. 

One step at a time, this is helping bridge the online-offline gap, leading to more integrated and involved advertising.

32% of non-users say that they would start using QR codes if they became more widely used and available.

QR code non-users opinions
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The study also found that another 32% of non-users would change their minds if the information contained in QR codes was clearly indicated.

Another 25% said that they would start using QR codes if there was more information on how to use them regularly. 

This means that there aren’t any Sisyphean barriers to entry; it’s just people who need assurances, guidance, and a promise of security.

45% of shoppers in the US have used marketing-related QR codes. (Statista)

marketing related qr code usage

Furthermore, the same study found that 59% of respondents believe that QR codes will become a permanent part of mobile phone usage in the future. 

The study also found that people between the ages of 18-29 used QR codes the most (54%).

Meanwhile, people above the age of 65 used QR codes the least, at only 31%.

The QR code payment market is worth more than $11.12 billion. (Grand View Research)

QR code payment market cap

The market is growing at a CAGR of 16.9% between 2023 and 2030. Meanwhile, in the US, the QR code payment market is worth approximately $2 billion, with a CAGR of 16.2%. 

Current estimates show that the global market will be worth $33.13 billion by 2030. The study combines both solutions and services-based QR code payment activities.

How Entrepreneurs Are Using QR Codes

It’s not a surprise that entrepreneurs and SMBs are leading the charge in using QR codes.

It’s a relatively less expensive and convenient way of improving customer interaction and overall user experience.

Small businesses accounted for 38% of all QR codes created in 2023.

qr code creation by business size
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While larger businesses have established brands, smaller ones need to consistently work on building and maintaining their brand image.

One way to achieve brand affinity is through better customer interactions, interactive activities, and smoother customer journeys; QR codes act as a catalyst to do all that. 

If small businesses are able to connect better with their customers through these small and manageable changes, it helps strengthen brand loyalty over time.

The YoY growth of QR code creations has increased by 156% for small businesses. (Bitly)

growth of qr code creations by company size
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Meanwhile, the YoY QR code creation growth for individual-based businesses increased by 140%.

For mid-sized businesses, it increased by 170%, and for large businesses and enterprises, it increased by 147% and 143%, respectively. 

I suppose data for enterprises may be a tad bit skewed because they already have a massive customer base.

So, even if they release one QR code-based campaign, it would generate thousands, if not millions of QR codes. 

Keeping that in mind, the most impressive statistic here is how individual-based businesses have increased QR code creation by 140%.

QR Code Safety Statistics

Like all online elements, QR codes are also susceptible to abuse. Just like there are tons of malicious links out there, you can also find malicious QR codes.

80% of people in the US who use QR codes think they are safe. (Scantrust)

percentage of people who think qr codes are safe

Meanwhile, the other 20% said that they didn’t know whether QR codes were safe or not; there weren’t many definitive negatives. 

It’s a little unnatural for people to have that much trust in a new technology. A 2021 Ivanti study found that almost 66% of respondents were confident they could identify a malicious URL but only 39% were confident about identifying a malicious QR code. 

I believe there is a massive gap between how safe people perceive QR codes to be and how safe they actually are.

QR Code Recent Trends

The QR code industry continues to see massive growth across a lot of industries, especially digital ones.

This is leading to organizations researching new ways of utilizing QR codes while also finding ways to make them more robust, multi-purpose, and expandable.

eQR code compression through QRtree allows users to shrink code size to 7.9% of its initial size. (IEEE)

eQR code compression

A recent research paper published in the IEEE worked on finding ways to fit more data in QR codes.

Current QR code technology has a limit on how much data you can store on it. The study tested various methods of compression like bytecode and QRtree, and found that the latter offered the best compression.

Using the compression method, users can fit as much as 12 times more data in eQR codes. 

This is useful today because QR codes are now starting to contain more and more complex data.

Such compression methods are a great way to evolve QR code technology beyond its current limitations. 

eQR codes also enable interactive behavior, allowing the use of QR codes with IoT devices.

The research also found that you can add an executable program (denoted QRscript) in eQR codes. 

I may be reaching but this probably means that soon, you may be able to download and play Doom entirely through a eQR code.

People are 25% more likely to fully complete an online questionnaire if it contains a QR code. (Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology)

A recent study went out to find how people respond to questionnaires when they include QR codes, as opposed to a plain old URL. 

The conclusion was that people are more likely to complete a questionnaire if it includes QR codes. If there’s no incentive involved, QR codes can help improve completion almost four times. 

With incentives, people are more likely to complete questionnaires in both cases, but QR codes still take the lead.

Wrap Up

While QR codes aren’t a new technology, they’re now becoming increasingly popular due to the IoT revolution. 

Other than that, the new generation (Gen Z and forward) is a digital-first generation. To cater to them, companies need to adopt tech like QR codes. 

At the same time, QR codes need to evolve too. That’s why we’ll be seeing interesting new compressions and QR code types in the near future. 

At any rate, QR codes are an essential part of a lot of industries today, and not using them may hinder your chances of staying ahead of the curve; or even on the curve at this point.

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Mughees is an agile and detail-oriented content marketer and strategist with 3+ years of experience in strategy and management, and 9+ years of experience writing content that converts.