Growth in Mobile Barcode Scanning Confirmed

mobile barcode scanning surveyNew survey results were released this week by Compete, a Kantar Media company, confirming the appearance of a growing trend in mobile barcode scanning. The survey, Q3 2010 Smartphone Intelligence, showed a significant rise in mobile barcode scanning among consumers. Other notable insights include: the reluctance of some consumers to upgrade from cell phones to smartphones, infrequent use of mobile banking applications and the simplicity of "must have" features among smartphone shoppers. Compete's quarterly Smartphone Intelligence product provides both behavioral and survey-based insights into how consumers are using iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices as well as other smartphones.

Barcode scanning, which not long ago was a niche application, should now be top-of-mind for all retailers. According to Compete's findings, barcode scanning apps have been used by 28 percent of smartphone owners. The highest rate of adoption is among Android owners -- 48 percent have tried a barcode scanning application. Not far behind are iPhone owners (39 percent), followed by BlackBerry owners (14 percent).

More than half of these active respondents said they scanned a barcode while in a store in order to compare the price of the product with prices in other stores. Others (23 percent) claim to have scanned an image of a product to bring up more information about it. And 13 percent said they've scanned a product's barcode so they could purchase it with their smartphone.

Other findings from the Compete Smartphone Intelligence survey include:

  • High prices of smartphones and data plans continue to be a barrier to smartphone adoption for cell phone owners. More than half of cell phone owners reported that they do not own a smartphone (a phone with advanced PC/email/Internet functionality) because the plans that are required with smartphones are too expensive.

  • Mobile banking usage is on the rise, with 40 percent of respondents using mobile banking apps at least once a month. However, most consumers are not yet making these apps part of their everyday routine; only 6 percent of consumers make a daily habit out of using mobile banking apps on their devices.

  • Although the top-five 'must have features' for smartphones across all consumers include basic features like long battery life, internet capability, personal email access, high-quality screen and camera/video camera, among those who spent over $100 on their most recent device, consumers are more likely to cite phone design, high speed data, touch screen and email access as top priority features.

 Compete offers a service for marketers called Smartphone Intelligence that combines consumer insights (through surveys) with behavioral data (through online click stream data) to reveal how smartphone owners are using their phones, the sites they visit on the mobile web and what they like and dislike about their phone and experiences. Armed with this information, companies are able to make better, more informed decisions in the realm of mobile media.

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