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US leads the world in mobile bar code usage: 3GVision

For the first time, the United States has become the largest country in terms of absolute number of mobile bar code scans, according to 3GVision.

These reports are based on the total number of QR code, Datamatrix and UPC/EAN scans recorded by 3GVision’s i-nigma system during the relevant periods. Because i-nigma has close to worldwide penetration (with the notable exception of Japan, which is known to be well ahead in popularity and usage of mobile bar codes), 3GVision believes that these numbers are likely to be indicative of global mobile bar code activity.

“The key finding is the U.S.  taking the top position in mobile bar code usage in absolute numbers—outside of Japan—as noted by several commentators in the blogosphere,” said Ofer Lev, vice president of products and marketing at 3GVision, Tel Aviv, Israel. “But these reports also show a big increase of market awareness for the mobile bar code space  globally. 

“Looking from the outside, perhaps the most surprising finding is the speed by which our space is growing, or even exploding,” he said. “The integration of offline, online and mobile allows marketers to provide a holistic experience to their customers.

“Watch this space in the coming months to see such innovative solutions coming from several retailers.”

Global growth in mobile bar code usage
Top 10 users of mobile bar codes during the fourth quarter of 2010 (with each country’s position during the third quarter in parentheses):

1. United States (2)
2. Italy (1)
3. Germany (3)
4. Hong Kong (10)
5. France (7)
6. Canada (15)
7. Britain (5)
8. Netherlands (6)
9. Thailand (4)
10. South Korea (11)

The top 5 countries in growth of mobile bar code usage during the fourth quarter 2010:

1. Canada (442 percent growth over the third quarter 2010)
2. Hong Kong (399 percent)
3. Germany (262 percent)
4. Norway (146 percent)
5. South Korea (142 percent)

Mr. Lev said that Hong King and Canada both experienced stellar growth in mobile bar code adoption.

Germany’s strong growth will likely help it surpass Italy’s No. 2 position in coming months, per 3GVision.

Mr. Lev said that the signs of exponential growth when comparing growth from the third to the fourth quarter 201 (83 percent) to that of second to the third (34 percent) and the first to the second (13 percent) are quite encouraging.

Although this report highlights the very best performers of the fourth, Mr. Lev said that even the countries that are ranked in lower positions still show significant growth compared to the third quarter.

For better representation of global open market trends, the reports specifically exclude activity from i-nigma-based platforms that are used by 3GVision’s vertical customers.

“The obvious factors contributing to the growth of mobile bar code usage are the popularity of smartphones and usage of mobile Internet that came along with it,” Mr. Lev said.

“Another important factor is that brands, agencies, publishers, retailers and other enterprises discovered mobile bar codes as effective means of communicating with consumers and offer mobile services to them,” he said.

“We can see that campaigns are much more successful than they were before, which of course raises the tide for our entire space.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily