QR codes and Microsoft Tags continue to dominate the mobile activation market. However, QR now has a significant lead with more than an 80% market share. This is a significant change from Q2 and Q3 of last year when the market was split between QR and Microsoft Tags.
QR and Other Code Market Share By Month
Digimarc watermarks now lead the “Other” category, having risen from just five codes in all of 2011 to 96 codes in the first half of 2012. Digimarc watermarks enable publishers to create custom branded icons which match the look and feel of the brand instead of QR codes. This makes them popular with many designers.
Two new technologies made their first appearance in 2012. Image recognition, used with augmented reality, appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated in March 2012. Image recognition is attracting interest in magazines as they do not require any change in the image itself or the pre-production process, as other mobile action codes do.
The first Near Field Communications (NFC) campaign appeared in Wired, which is not one of the Top 100 magazines. NFC enables a phone to be activated just by placing the device on an ad. However, it adds the expense of embedding an NFC chip into the advertisement. We believe that cost will slow NFC adoption in the near term.