QR Codes are Quite Popular with Electronics Shoppers

Nielsen Study of Smartphone Use by Type of RetailerNew research from market researcher The Nielsen Company conducted just this month (May 2012) shows that those QR (quick response) codes are popular with shoppers in many different types of stores. But these codes are most popular with smartphone-equipped shoppers at electronics stores according to this latest research. Why?Nielsen’s report showed some interesting variations on how smartphone owners use their phones when shopping at retail. And although the excerpts of the study as reported by the media made no reference to the issue of “showrooming” (using smartphones to find cheaper online prices for products shopped in a retail showroom), it did identify some key differences between how phones and QR codes are used in different types of retailers.

QR codes still popular…

An impressive 36% of retail shoppers said they used their smartphone to scan a QR code while shopping in a department store. This data should be good news to those marketers who recently have suggested that QR codes may be losing their power in the marketplace.

But in the case of electronics retailers, the case gets even more compelling. Fully 57% of shoppers said that they used their phones to scan  QR codes at an electronics store – the highest percentage of any type of retailer. This number is so large, that it dwarfs over other retail types such as: mass merchandisers (31%), grocery stores (26%), office supply stores (20%), clothing stores (16%), convenience stores (8%), furniture stores (5%), and dollar stores (2%).

But what are shoppers using them for…

Nielsen says that – in the case of electronics stores – shoppers are scanning QR codes predominantly for the purpose of obtaining more details on the product itself. In fact, Nielsen says 73% of the smartphone shoppers are reading product reviews on the electronic items they are shopping for.

Smartphone Use by Store TypeLikewise, 43% of department store shoppers and 34% of mass merchant shoppers say they are using their phones to read product reviews on the items they are shopping for. However, in grocery, clothing, furniture and other stores, the percentage of shoppers using their phones to read reviews is much lower.

Coupon-ing – the electronic way…

More likely, in these other story types, shoppers are engaging their phones in order to use or request mobile coupons. In the case of grocery and department stores, an identical 41% of shoppers indicated that this was their primary use of their smartphone. Clothing store shoppers were next in line (39%), with electronics stores and mass merchants at 30% and 25%, respectively.

What Nielsen left unanswered – and a hot topic for many in the electronics retail world – is some measure of the prevalence of showrooming? Are smartphone shoppers really just looking at product reviews – or are they in search of cheaper prices?

What do you think?

For more on the Nielsen study, click here…

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