Barcode Apps and Holiday Shopping

holiday_shoppingJust as the the word App has been assimilated into our daily vocabularies, so, it seems, has the thing itself worked itself into our daily lives. One such app is ShopSavvy, the barcode-scanning comparison shopping tool for iPhone, Android and Nokia smartphone users. In addition to saving users time and money, using ShopSavvy adds an element of control and organization to the shopping experience that may serve to assuage the tired psyche of the average, over-burdened consumer.

Recently released data from ShopSavvy provides interesting insight into the season ahead (and the future of mobile shopping?). During the first 10 days of the holiday shopping season, ShopSavvy reports that users performed 16 million product scans with the app's built-in barcode reader, with nearly a third of the smartphone app’s 6.5 million users scanning at least one item between November 1st and November 10th. This is more than three times the number of scans conducted during the same period last year.

“In a typical month, ShopSavvy users conduct between 30 and 50 million scans; this month, we expect that to be closer to 120 million scans, with more than half of those coming over Black Friday weekend,” said Alexander Muse, co-creator of ShopSavvy, ”This represents a mountain of data of value to retailers, advertisers and the shopping public.”

Based on ShopSavvy user data, the most-scanned products in the top holiday gift categories from Nov. 1-10 were the following:


  1. Uncle Milton’s Moon In My Room

  2. Squinkies Bubble Pack – Series One

  3. Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball

  4. LEGO Harry Potter Hagrid’s Hut

  5. The Sing-a-ma-jigs Set of 4 Singing Plush Figures


  1. “Life” by Keith Richards

  2. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth” by Jeff Kinney

  3. “Decision Points” by George W. Bush

  4. “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson

  5. “Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King


  1. “Toy Story 3”

  2. “How to Train Your Dragon”

  3. “Iron Man 2”

  4. “Sex and the City 2”

  5. “Modern Family: The Complete First Season”

Video Games

  1. “Call of Duty: Black Ops”

  2. “StarCraft II”

  3. “Halo: Reach”

  4. “NBA 2K11”

  5. “GoldenEye 007”

Consumer Electronics

  1. LG Blu-ray Disc Player

  2. Vizio 55-inch 1080p LCD HDTV

  3. Canon Pixma Wireless Printer

  4. Apple TV

  5. Roku XD Streaming Player

ShopSavvy’s 6.5 million users are expected to conduct more than 200 million scans between now and Christmas, Muse said.

As the use of barcode apps flourishes, their inherent value becomes clearer. More than useful tools for the consumer, these apps provide new, valuable data for retailers, marketers and advertisers. As a designer, I know that the more data I have to fill in project variables, the more effective the resulting design. The same is true in retail. If applied correctly, this new data could lead to extreme improvements in the efficacy of advertising, marketing, product development—the opportunities are endless.

The Point of Sale News, an online magazine dedicated to the retail industry.

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