How Will QR Codes Impact Market Research?

By now, the vast majority of us are familiar with QR codes. At least, that’s what the latest research says. A new study published by MGH shows that awareness of QR (or Quick Response) codes is rising dramatically. More about the study via 2d Code:

MGH has conducted an online survey to gauge awareness and usage of QR codes among smartphone users. The online survey of 415 smartphone users was conducted on the Vision Critical Springboard America panel. 32% of respondents said they have used a QR code, and 70% percent said they plan to use a QR code again or for the first time. For both those that have used one and those that plan to use one the top motivator…in scanning a code is to secure a coupon (53%) or discount (87%). (It is interesting to compare these results with the NetAsia Research study mentioned in The QR Code Hype Cycle). The MGH survey also found that 72% of smartphone users would be likely to recall an ad with a QR code. Full survey results here (PDF).

So the question is this: Are QR codes the key?

As awareness of QR codes skyrockets, their applications continue to expand. As we can see in the MGH study, 87% of respondents who have used a QR code and plan to do so again have done so to secure a discount. Does combining QR codes with incentives unlock the key to mobile market research? Take a picture of the code with your phone, answer a few quick questions, get a discount – maybe even in the store where you found the code. Right then and there.

Several survey providers are already giving researchers the ability to create QR codes that direct respondents to their surveys (see the latest announcement from the folks at QuestionPro). Have you started to use QR codes in your survey outreach? Have you responded to surveys via QR codes yourself? Will QR codes become a mainstream approach, or are they still restricted to niche markets? As always we welcome your thoughts. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or find us on Twitter (@researchaccess).

About Joshua Hoffman

Joshua Hoffman is Technology Specialist at Microsoft and a frequent contributor to Research Access.


  1. I definitely think QR codes are going to take off in MR community. Smartphone usage is increasing dramatically making it an amazing way to reach respondents “in-the-moment” like no other data collections tool. It’s non-disruptive and completely opt-in. But the hurdle has always been ease of use. Instead of long url’s to thumb into a phone, now with QR codes, it’s a simple scan. LOVE them.

  2. sanjay khanna says:

    IMHO and based on what the survey respondents are saying they are using QR codes for, conducting research and offering an incentive in real time is likely to create a higher response bias, in the responses provided by such discount searching respondents.

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