Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Survey Results On Japanese QR Code Usage

What Japan Thinks has a recent great post on the latest survey findings on QR Code usage in Japan. The survey was conducted over a 5 day period earlier this month (10/1 ~ 10/5/2007) with responses from 17091 MyVoice internet community members. The survey is slightly female biased (54% vs 46%) with 58% of the samples from people who are under age 40 (which is usually the main age group that uses mobile value added services) so it should be of good reference value to other areas of the world that are looking to promote the use of 2D barcodes.

For details, please refer to the original survey result. The following is the translated results by What Japan Thinks, and I recommend visiting their website as it provides great insight to the Japanese market.
Q1: Who is your current mobile phone service provider? If you have more than one, choose the one you use the most. (Sample size=17,091)
DoCoMo 43.0%
au 28.9%
Softbank 20.3%
Other 0.4%
Don’t have a mobile phone (to end of survey) 5.2%

5.2% don't have a mobile phone?!

Q2: Do you use your mobile phone’s QR code or bar code reader? (Sample size=mobile phone users)
Often use 4.9%
Sometimes use 42.2%
Have used it before 14.6%
Know what QR codes are, but don’t use them 27.7%
Just heard the name 2.9%
Not even heard of them 7.6%
No answer 0.1%

I'm not sure what is the difference between "often use" and "sometimes use", but it's still only at 47.1% total. Is it half glass empty or half glass full? I think there is still room for growth, even in Japan.

Q3: How do you start your QR code reader? If there is more than one, select the method you use the most. (Sample size=QR code users)
From camera 55.2%
From main menu 22.9%
From application 20.1%
Other 1.0%
No answer 0.7%

This only tells us how lucky Japanese mobile users are as I believe both "From camera" and "From main menu" both mean that their mobile phone comes preloaded with a mobile barcode reader.

Q4: From where do you scan QR codes? (Sample size=QR code users, multiple answer)
Magazine columns and advertisements 71.3%
Maps 14.5%
Food items 12.9%
Posters, leaflets in stations 12.3%
Business cards 4.5%
Other 28.7%
No answer 0.4%

A lot of the answers are well publicized so I'm more curious about the Other 28.7%.

Q5: What do you do with the scanned QR code data? (Sample size=QR code users, multiple answer)
Connect to web site 90.0%
Register bookmark 13.2%
Send mail 10.6%
Display text 4.5%
Register in address book 4.3%
Playback or save music, display or save graphic 3.9%
Pass to application 2.4%
Make telephone call 2.4%
Copy to mail 1.9%
Other 3.8%
No answer 0.3%

No doubt that connecting to the web is a great application for QR Codes, but since the majority of the average mobile users outside Japan are usually quite stingy when it comes to mobile data usage, URL links alone will probably not be enough to attract the end users.

Q6: Do you know about colour QR codes? (Sample size=QR code aware people)
Yes, and often use 0.7%
Yes, and sometimes use 2.9%
Yes, and have used them before 1.6%
Know what they are, but not used them 14.0%
Just heard the name 9.8%
Not even heard of them 66.3%
No answer 4.6%

They are probably referring to ColorZip from Korea. They claim to support quite a few devices from their list, but I'm guessing that they are not as widely pre-installed as the QR Code readers, thus affecting its visibility and popularity among end users.

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