Home > Technology > 2‚1m South Africans are using QR barcodes‚ even as IT debates question ‘Are QR Codes dead?’

2‚1m South Africans are using QR barcodes‚ even as IT debates question ‘Are QR Codes dead?’

South African consumers are increasingly familiar with the square‚ barcode-like pattern called QR Codes‚ a new survey shows.

Tech research company World Wide Worx said many South Africans’ first exposure to the Quick Response Code (QR)‚ was via apps like BlackBerry Messenger‚ when it became the quickest way to add a friend on BBM.

“In the past year‚ however‚ it has quietly gained new life as mobile apps like SnapScan roped it in for payments at small merchants‚ flea markets and the like.

It has also been appearing on print advertising‚ posters and window displays throughout the country‚” the company said in a statement. By the end of 2014‚ more than 2‚1-million South Africans were using QR Codes.

Of these users‚ 1‚1-million were male‚ with female users only marginally behind‚ at 1‚04-million.

QR Code usage is strongly age-related‚ with 673‚000 users in the peak age group of 25-34. In contrast‚ the 15-24 segment amounts to only 471‚000‚ while 494‚000 are aged from 35 to 44. A similar amount – 425‚000 – makes up the 45-65 age group.

Usage drops significantly with retirement age: the 65+ age group comprises 88‚000 users. “Mobile payment systems are quickly becoming mainstream‚ and it will be fascinating to see how the more mechanical systems like QR Codes compete‚” said World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck.

“Ideally‚ there should be room for any system‚ with each one finding its ideal niche. But there are no certainties in a sector that is moving so fast.”

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