By Ann Carver, Analyst, and Roger Matus, Executive Vice President, Nellymoser, Inc.
QR codes are appearing in shopping malls and retail locations across the United States. During the 2011 holiday season, shoppers likely encountered at least one code. Our findings show that one out of 14 stores incorporated QR codes as part of a mobile strategy that extends beyond the brick-and-mortar store location.
To understand which retail segments are using QR codes and how they are used, Nellymoser examined more than 700 stores in the five largest shopping malls in the greater Boston area during December 2011.
Nellymoser walked every floor of each mall and entered each store. We examined materials outside of stores, front window displays, interior retail displays and the fitting room areas of all stores within the malls. We did not include stores not attached to the main building or restaurants. We also scanned every code and launched every mobile experience.
Nellymoser discovered that 23 of the store brands, or 7.2% of the total, contained at least one QR code. This is approximately one out of every 14 stores. None of the stores used a 2D barcode other than a QR code, such as a Microsoft Tag or a Spyderlynk SnapTag.
More than 700 retail locations were visited, including the following national anchor stores:
- Best Buy
- J.C. Penney
- Lord & Taylor
- Saks Fifth Avenue
The five malls were selected based on the number of stores and total retail square footage, not including out buildings. (See table.) As three of the malls in our sample would have been operated by the same mall management, we substituted The Shops at Prudential Center for the South Shore Plaza, which, like The Burlington Mall and The North Shore Mall, is managed by Simon Malls.
After de-duplicating stores and removing stores that do not serve as retail outlets (such as food court locations), a total of 318 unique store brands were identified.
Shoppers looking for teen and young adult fashion, beauty products or mobile electronics were more likely to encounter a QR code than those shopping in other stores.
Store brands aimed at teens and 20s that used QR codes included aerie, American Eagle, BCBG Max Azria, Express, Forever 21, Gap, Journeys, PacSun and Sephora. Mobile electronics stores using QR codes included AT&T, Best Buy Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Anchor stores had a low rate of QR code use, with only Best Buy and Macy’s featuring them in store.