On the other hand, maybe QR codes are already dead

Earlier this week, I wrote about the impact QR codes might have on market research. The post was in response to a recent study that showed that not only is awareness of QR codes, but so is the likelihood that consumers will use QR codes (particularly with a coupon or discount incentive). The study was just another in a long line of research and editorial content that points to QR codes having a major impact on brand/consumer interaction.

On the other hand, maybe the time for QR codes has already come and gone.

Gizmodo reports this morning that Google is already abandoning its use of QR codes in favor of technologies like NFC (Near Field Communications) chips, which don’t require the same level of active engagement from the user, but rather can be activated merely by a user’s presence in a particular location. (We talked about this technology recently in our interview with Jayant Ramchandani of Novitaz.)

So which is it? Are QR codes poised to have a major impact on connecting with mobile users, or has their time already passed? As always, we want to hear your thoughts!

About Joshua Hoffman

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


  1. QR codes are alive and well.

    Reason 1:
    Although Google may be abandoning QR codes in favour of NFC, the majority of smartphones are not yet NFC enabled. QR codes simply require a phone with a camera running suitable software. NFC requires a new device.

    Reason 2:
    QR codes can be used in a much greater array of situations that NFC. Websites and mass-produced books, posters, surveys, etc can carry QR codes which are quick and simple to produce using software. NFC is hardware based, requiring greater time and cost to implement. QR codes also have non-local uses. The can be photographed, broadcast or simply used at a distance.

    I don’t think Google will succeed in replacing QR codes with NFC in the near future. They are distinct technologies and while I’m sure both will be useful, QR codes can be accessed and generated by many more people.

  2. Thanks, Mark! You make some really excellent points here.

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