Scanbuy: 'Tis the Season for Mobile Barcodes


American consumers are getting used to using mobile barcodes, judging by the results of a new survey by Scanbuy -- at least among people with profiles on social networks.

A survey of Twitter and Facebook users found that 57% of respondents had scanned a mobile barcode at least once, while 40% had scanned mobile barcodes five or more times.

Overall, mobile barcode usage has increased 50% during the holidays compared to the pre-holiday period. An earlier survey by Scanbuy found that mobile barcode usage has jumped 700% in 2010 compared to 2009.

While the Twitter and Facebook survey group results probably show some degree of self-selection (leaning toward tech-savvy young adults), results suggest widespread recognition of the utility and possible applications of barcodes.

Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed found mobile barcodes useful -- even if they hadn't used them yet -- for purposes including price comparison, user reviews and accessing special product offers. Survey respondents also said mobile barcodes would be good for looking up prices online and getting information without having to consult sales staff.



Turning to devices, 34% of respondents said they used an iPhone, versus 29% for BlackBerry and 27% for Android. The increase in mobile barcode usage may reflect growing penetration by smartphones in the mobile device market.

Total annual smartphone sales jumped 15% from 151 million in 2008 to 174 million in 2009; they are on course to increase another 55% to 270 million in 2010, according to Strategy Analytics. In fact, SA forecasts annual sales will rise another 31% to 350 million in 2011.

The proportion of smartphones as a percentage of total mobile device sales has increased from 13% in the first quarter of 2009 to 23% in the third quarter of 2010.

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