QR Code Scans Lead Some Smartphone Owners to Make Unplanned In-Store Purchases

Vibes-Impact-of-In-Store-QR-Code-Scan-Oct201331% of US smartphone owners have texted or scanned a QR code to get more information or a special in-store deal, finds Vibes in a new study [download page] of mobile consumer behavior. The study – which details the rising influence of smartphone use in-store – indicates that 40% of these QR code-using consumers claim to have made a purchase they hadn’t planned to as a result of the information they received. Another 42% felt better about a purchase they were going to make.

Overall, the 31% of respondents having recently scanned a QR code represents a slight uptick from 27% last year. (More details on QR code scanning trends can be found here.)

Some in-store smartphone activities seeing rapid growth from last year include purchasing a product from a competitor (23% from 9%) and researching a product on the store’s website (40% from 20%).

Many of the 49% of respondents who report having compared prices on a competitor’s website while in-store used that information to their benefit. Specifically, looking at the actions taken after comparing prices, the study finds that a plurality 37% used the information to get a better price at the store where they were shopping. Another 10% just paid the marked price, resulting in 47% purchasing the item in-store. By comparison, 45% bought the item elsewhere, most commonly online at Amazon (31%).

Other Findings:

  • 44% of respondents said they use their smartphone for in-store comparison shopping or purchases often (20%), most of the time (17%) or every time they shop (7%).
  • 30% rely on their mobile phone to make purchasing decisions more than they did 2 years ago.
  • Only 35% of respondents believe that retailers do a good job personalizing the mobile information and experiences they offer the majority of the time.
  • 89% of respondents would be more likely to sign-up to mobile messages if they were personalized.
  • The most important aspect of personalization for these respondents is the use of their preferences – such as favorite sizes, brand, and shopping categories.
  • Less than 4 in 10 respondents receive SMS from brands.
  • Smartphone owners are most commonly enticed to subscribe to a brand’s mobile messaging by incentives or coupons (79%), with fewer influenced by product information and updates (46%) and exclusive content (45%).
  • As with last year’s study, too many messages or updates (66%) is the most common reason why smartphone owners would unsubscribe from a brand’s mobile messaging, with irrelevant information (56%) next on the list.
  • 6 in 10 respondents allow push notifications.

About the Data: The Vibes Mobile Consumer Report was fielded by the independent panel research firm Equation Research. Responses were generated from a survey among 1,000 smartphone owners from their online opinion panel. All respondents are age 18 or older and living in the continental United States. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.1 percent.