QR Codes in 2022
Developed by the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave, QR Codes are machine-readable barcodes made up of a combination of black and white squares. They’re designed to store URLs or downloadable content and are accessed by the cameras of smartphones.
You’ll likely have seen them popping up more and more in restaurants and stores alike since their usage has skyrocketed during the pandemic. However, only a few years earlier, this technology was considered a thing of the past.
But now, in 2022, are QR Codes more relevant than ever?
The pandemic brought forth colossal shifts and disruptions in industries worldwide, and during the quest to limit the spread of the virus, there was a surprising resurgence of the humble QR Code.
While it had become almost a relic in Europe and the US, the QR Code was still used quite frequently in Asia. So, as businesses and governments tried hard to minimise contact between people, we took time to learn from one another, and the QR Code rapidly gained favour worldwide.
Before the pandemic, smartphones weren’t equipped with native QR scanning capabilities; it was only after updates released by Android and Apple iOS that phones gained the ability to scan QR Codes without an app specifically designed to do so. This made QR Codes even more accessible, especially since they could now be scanned even when very small and when wrapped around objects. This updated technology allowed businesses to rely on them much more since 87% of adults in the UK owned smartphones at the time. Before this, 78% of people were put off using QR Codes because they had to install an app before their phones could even read them.
However, since 2021, 75% of consumers have said that they plan to use QR Codes moving forward, and there has been a 750% increase in QR downloads since the start of the pandemic – which is a big change in consumer opinion.
But it’s not just businesses who are making the most of this technology. Governments and healthcare providers are also using QR Codes for vaccine passports and proof of vaccinations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. So, it’s a safe bet to say that QR Codes won’t be going anywhere in the next few years.
Chances are, the next time you venture into a town or city, you’ll likely see more than a handful of QR Codes. From packing to billboards, gyms to restaurants, many businesses are already making the most of them for contact-free service.
Some of the most popular ways QR Codes are being utilised at the moment are in the hospitality sector. Since they were hit hard by the string of lockdowns and the pandemic in general, restaurants, hotels, cafes, and bars had to react fast in order to stay in business. To reduce the risk of getting sick for staff members and their consumers alike, digitised menus made ordering a contactless interaction.
Not only that, but those in the hospitality centre have started using QR Codes for a multitude of other reasons too. From checking into hotel rooms to sharing COVID-19 protocols, over 30% of the industry has already expanded its use of QR Codes beyond just menus.
On the other hand, with sustainability pushed to the forefront of everyone’s minds, QR Codes are providing a stepping stone between businesses and consumers when sharing information on their sustainability goals. Since 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact, giving easy access to this information on your products can be a major selling point.
In addition to this, QR Codes can help integrate the digital and physical worlds. For instance, they’re already being used to unlock AR (Augmented Reality) experiences for consumers. These kinds of experiences have been shown to lead to a 94% increase in conversion rates, and a great example of this being used recently is actually from Pizza Hut.
In 2021, the restaurant chain launched a campaign called ‘Pizza Hut Arcade’, which involved printing QR Codes on their pizza boxes. These codes led smartphone users to an AR game of Pac-Man. Players who shared their scores on social media were then entered into a contest to win a custom Pac-Man game cabinet. This campaign combined the power of AR, social media and QR Codes to provide a really meaningful and exciting interaction with their users.
Another fast food giant that has been making the most of QR Codes is Burger King, which recently ran a shoppable TV campaign. Their advert featured a QR Code on-screen which, when scanned, would direct viewers to a webpage that offered discounts and a free Whopper when purchasing through its app.
These are just a few examples of what QR Codes can do for business. They’re also bridging the gap to the Metaverse, being used as vaccine certificates to enter venues and can provide unique insights on your marketing campaigns.
Brands all over the globe and in every sector are making the most of these ingenious little barcodes. They can help integrate both the digital and physical world to provide unique, meaningful experiences and even help reduce the risk of diseases spreading.
While they were never gone, they had been a little underused in the past, but since the start of the pandemic, they’ve made a major comeback. Every day we’re witnessing new, innovative ways that they can be used, and we’re pretty sure that they won’t be going anywhere in 2022.