Product barcode scanning during the first week of the holiday shopping season starting with Black Friday was 30 times higher than the same period in 2009, according to new findings by barcode technology provider Scanbuy.
The company didn't specify the actual number of scans, but said toys were the most-scanned category, followed by electronics and housewares. Books saw the most purchases, followed by electronics and housewares, among people using the company's ScanLife application. That did not include many big-ticket items -- most products bought were in the $10 to $30 range.
By downloading the company's app, anyone with a camera phone (typically a smartphone) can get product information, coupons or other content via tags on product packaging, print ads or outdoor signs. The Scanbuy barcode reader supports UPC and 2D codes as well as the company's proprietary EZcodes.
Scanbuy grabbed attention earlier this year when it announced more barcode scans performed in a single month starting in July than in all of 2009, underscoring the technology's proliferation as a marketing vehicle. Retailers and other companies are further expanding the use of barcodes further during the holidays.
Toys "R" Us, for example, last month unveiled new mobile shopping features including equipping stores with coupon barcode scanners, allowing sales clerks to scan customers' mobile e-mail coupons straight from their devices. Chain retailers such as Target and The Wet Seal have adopted the shopkick mobile system that allows customers to gain points toward purchases by walking in the door as well as scanning certain products in stores.
Amazon is getting in on the act too, recently releasing a price comparison iPhone app that lets users scan items in brick-and-mortar stores to see if they can get a better deal through the online retailing giant.
The growth of smartphones in the U.S. -- where nearly 30% of mobile users have high-end devices, according to the latest Nielsen data -- have helped spur barcode scanning along with wider adoption of barcode technology at checkout by major stores like Target.
In addition to the 30-fold growth in scans to start the holidays, Scanbuy said product purchases from the app were up almost three times on Black Friday and the next day. A higher percentage purchased on Saturday, suggesting that people may have had more time to do so, according to Scanbuy.