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Report: 6 percent of smartphone users scan QR codes

Even though just a handful of smartphone users are scanning QR codes, marketers are confident that they will continue to gain ground as mobile marketing tools, a ComScore analysis finds.

Quick response, or QR codes aren't being ignored so much after all.

Approximately 14 million U.S. mobile users in the U.S. used their smartphones to scan QR codes in the month of June 2011 alone, according to a new report from ComScore.

Here are the highlights of the majority numbers from different demographics in the survey:
•14 million equates to 6.2 percent of the total U.S. mobile audience
•60.5 percent of that audience was male
•53.4 percent of that audience were between the ages of 18 and 34
•36.1 percent of that audience has a household income of $100,000 and above

Of course, even though QR codes can only be scanned and read by smartphones, those numbers do not reflect the smartphone consumer market in its entirety. That's still less than 10 percent of smartphone users who are actually paying attention to QR codes.

Personally, I don't bother with QR codes myself much as I find it a hassle to have to scan something with my phone's camera, wait for it to be read, and then for it to lead me somewhere else. I'd rather just see a Web address on the advertisement and go to it later on a computer. The only time QR codes seem enticing is when they lead to some sort of contest and prize.

And based on ComScore's statistics, most users would require some sort of 3G or 4G connection when scanning as most occurrences take place outside the home or office. For example, based on the total audience of those who scanned QR codes in June, 39.4 percent of those scans took place in a retail store, 24.9 percent in a grocery store, 12.6 percent on public transit and/or outside, and 7.6 percent at restaurants.

Nevertheless, even though only a small number of smartphone users are actively using QR codes, analysts believe there is still room for more growth and potential.

Mark Donovan, ComScore's senior vice president of mobile, said in a statement:

QR codes demonstrate just one of the ways in which mobile marketing can effectively be integrated into existing media and marketing campaigns to help reach desired consumer segments. For marketers, understanding which consumer segments scan QR codes, the source and location of these scans, and the resulting information delivered, is crucial in developing and deploying campaigns that successfully utilize QR codes to further brand engagement.

As for the sources, based on the combination of the numbers about common user locations, one would assume that we'd see QR codes more on wall advertising and such. However, in some cases it might be a lot harder to scan, thus, it's not terribly surprising to see print publications and product packaging as the primary sources.

This story first appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines.