Scanbuy, Inc. (New York, NY, USA) released its latest "ScanLife Mobile Barcode Trend Report" last week and the research contains some impressive figures, including a sixteen-fold jump in overall barcode traffic this year.
Scanbuy, of course, has a vested interest in barcode scanning trends, as a global provider of mobile barcode solutions. However their research is consistent with the accelerated adoption of smartphone technology for common activities like shopping, product information, and web usage.
In addition to the 1600% jump in 2010 traffic, scanning also doubled since the last report was issued in September. UPC scanning outpaced 2D codes as a result of the holiday shopping season, with the largest scan days on "Black Friday" and Christmas Day (as people received gifts, many being new smartphones). The most used scanning features were coupons, prices, and nutritional information, reflecting previous findings that food and personal care are the most scanned categories. There was a 13% increase in female to male traffic, and a 25% increase in the 25-54 age group.
The findings are not expected to have a direct impact on the networks, despite the huge numbers. Scanbuy's intent is to analyze customer behavior and trends in order to "make more impactful marketing and positioning decisions," rather than discovering implications on the networks themselves. However, an uptake in barcode scanning does imply increased data usage through indirect means. Although the codes themselves are low bandwidth (particularly the more popular UPC codes), they quickly drive users to high bandwidth content. 2D barcode scans on smartphones almost always link to an online store or streaming media, which is good news for operators.
The data for this report was collected globally from October 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.