Are QR Codes Still Relevant in 2021? Yes, and here's why!

Last updated:   October 13, 2021

Are QR codes still relevant? Do people still use QR codes today? The simple answer is yes! They are relevant and will continue to be still be relevant in the coming years!

In fact, QR codes are only making a huge comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic! 

QR codes have been around for many years already. 

This 2D barcode type was developed and designed in Japan in 1994 to track vehicles in the automotive industry during the distribution and manufacturing process, and not as a useful marketing tool (and as a life-saving tool), we used it today.  

Related: How QR codes are used in your country during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

How do QR codes work? 

undefinedQR codes are generated using a QR code generator online. This advanced tool can hold different types of data, such as numerical, alphabetical, binary, and control codes.

The content encrypted in QR codes is detectable using smartphones, which natively supports QR code scanning or reading. 

To scan QR codes, the smartphone user only needs to point his camera steadily to the QR code 2-3 seconds and tap on the notification that appears to access the information associated with the QR.

This process is similar to decoding QR codes in the QR code reader apps, which you can opt to use if your smartphone device does not have the option for QR code reading. 

Related: How to Make a QR code: A Step-By-Step Guide

Two types of QR codes: Static VS. Dynamic QR

The information encoded in Static QR codes is permanent, and you cannot edit it to another information. Moreover, it is not trackable. However, they are free to generate and do not need your subscription to create to one.

On the other hand, Dynamic QR codes are advanced QR code with many features such as tracking your QR code number of scans, and they are also editable. 

Related: What is the Difference Between Static QR Code and a Dynamic QR Code?

Do people still use QR codes today? 

QR codes are relevant today and in the future and it didn't take long for QR codes to be solely realized- not until the COVID-19 shook the world to its core.

This smart tech-tool has opened opportunities for business owners to implement QR codes as a preventive tool during and even in the Post-COVID-19 pandemic when the world has slowly resumed under the 'new normal' society. 

QR codes were deployed in various services both in public and private industries, particularly in business sectors. It's used skyrocketed for contactless payment, no-touch menus, raising charity funds through digital donations, contact tracing, contactless registrations, and more. 

Are QR codes dead today? 

are qr codes still relevant

Definitely not. 

There has been a buzz that QR codes are dead and unuseful, but this pandemic proves the critiques wrong.  

In fact, QR codes are just making a comeback during this pandemic and have gained its deserved recognition as a useful tool to prevent virus contraction for having a contactless approach. 

Furthermore, QR  codes scans have a staggering increase in South Korea, and the US market has also embraced QR codes for digital payments. Other countries such as Ghana, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Russia are embracing payment through QR code technology! 

According to Juniper Research, by 2022, 5.3 billion QR code coupons will be redeemed by smartphones, and 1 billion smartphones will access QR codes.

What is the future of QR codes?

The future of QR codes this year and beyond are not just simple guesses but are based on statistics. QR codes have become very handy in different aspects of people's lives and even in the business and marketing sector.

With the current pandemic, the world is facing, QR codes have been very useful in delivering timely information in a form of contactless way, keeping everyone's safety as its main advantage. 

Are QR codes still relevant 2021? QR code usage statistics today

QR codes, per country, vary in usage statistics. In America, it is projected that more than 11 million households will scan QR code by the end of this year

China on the other hand, which is one of the perfect demonstrations of the QR code hype in the world, records a whopping 1.65 trillion worth of transactions in the financial sector alone. 

Europe also estimated that 10.1 million QR codes will be used by the end of the year. 

Related: QR Code Statistics Today: Everything You Need To Know!

6 example of innovative uses QR codes during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Contact tracing 

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Countries like South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, ChinaNew Zealand, and others are using QR codes for contact tracing individuals who may be a potential virus carrier. First off, each respective country's implemented contactless registration to collect the data of each guest. It helps the local government to do an easy contact-tracing and verify an individual who has been reported to be infected by the virus. Moreover, this allows the concerned officials to get accurate information about the person. 

This also goes to show how relevant QR codes are when it comes to contact tracing.

Contactless registration


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Before contact tracing happens, contactless registration in high-risk avenues such as bars, hospitals, restaurants, malls, and other establishments are being required to enter their details using a Google Form QR code. 

Guests scan the QR code to enter his data using his smartphone device and submit it. This process also avoids multiple hand exchanges of pens and paper, and it helps the government verify the data of the reported individual easily. 

Related: How to make a QR code for a Google Form

Digital menus 

are qr codes still relevant 2020One way restaurants are safely re-opening during the Post COVID- 19 is transforming their menus into digital by using a PDF QR code. 

Guests who opt for dine-in or take-outs can scan the digital menu to order and avoid touching the physical menu. 

Restaurants in New Orleans, New York, Chicago are serving up a contactless menu for their guests. 

Related: How to make your restaurant or bar menu in a QR code?

Digital money transferringqr codes 2020

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To negate from handing out physical payments like cash and cards, digital money transferring using QR codes have skyrocketed. Banks and payment companies like SafeCharge rely on QR codes in their transactions to make money transfer faster and safer at the same time. 

Digital donation drive

are qr codes dead 2020

Who would've thought QR codes can be this relevant for donation drives? During the Coronavirus outbreak, non-profit organizations and charities from all over the world were challenged to raise funds due to social distancing implementation brought by the virus. But QR code came to its rescue by making donations go digital!

For example, Melbourne-based payments technology company, Quest Payment Systems, developed Donation Point Go, where they use a QR code to engage with donors. 

The company printed out the Donation QR code along with posters, t-shirts, signages, and badges. Once the QR code is scanned, the user will be redirected to the Donation Point Go website to make a donation. 

Moreover, they also displayed the Donation Point GO QR code online for a broader reach. 

QR codes on TV

Another innovative use of QR codes is its emergence in television commercials during Cov-Id 19. It is notable how the American multinational chain of hamburger fast-food restaurants, Burger King, gave out some entertainment and levity to people's day who were stuck at home during the pandemic.

Burger King rolled out moving QR code on the TV screen during breaks. The users have to scan the moving QR code to get a whopper, which was a smart initiative to implement!

Related: How to use QR codes in augmented reality advertising

future of qr codesOn the other hand, the global fashion tv company, Fashion TV, also found its way to increase their website traffic and boost its marketing tactics by displaying QR codes that appear on TV during appropriate display moments.

Upon scanning, it will lead viewers to their website, encouraging them to browse over their high-end fashion videos and watch campaigns of various luxury brands! A smart way to increase their traffic while advertising the brand!

Related: How did FashionTV Channel Use QR Codes to Advertise Through Television

Why QR codes are still relevant? Here are the reasons! 

Easy access to information using a smartphone device 

QR codes are designed to be accessed by smartphone devices, which make them convenient to use in any facets of service for a non-contactless interaction. 

Ability to hold different types of data 

QR codes are flexible. You can encode different types of information in a QR code using alphabetical, numerical binary, control codes, etc. 

Related: QR code types: 15 primary QR solutions and their functions

Ability to resist damage

QR codes can resist damage even though it has been slightly worn out or defaced; it can still function. It can resist up to 30% damage to the total structure without affecting its readability.  

Security using dynamic QR codes

Having an editable QR Code or dynamic QR code ensures you constant control. If you need to change the content of the QR code or update it, you can do this even if your QR codes have been printed or implemented without the need to regenerate another QR code.

This is a handy and crucial feature if you need to print your QR Code on marketing material.

Related: How to Make an Editable QR Code?

Editable and trackable

QR codes are not only editable, but they are also trackable using a Dynamic QR code. If you are planning to use QR codes in your marketing campaign for a contactless approach, you can see the data scans of your QR code such as the number of scans, when you get scans and where do you get the most scans. 

This allows you to understand the flow of your QR code marketing campaign and come up with a better strategy if you are not getting the traction you need. 

Related: How do dynamic QR codes work?

Can be advertised in printed materials or online

QR codes can be scannable in print or online display, making them flexible to use practically everywhere. It streamlines the process from the desktop to mobile and print to digital, allowing users a varying degree of QR code experience and engagement. 

Related: What should be the right size of your QR code?

How relevant are QR codes in the present marketing  How is it used? 

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, brands have used QR codes to engage customer experience and engagement to boost the company's sales. These prominent brands are: 

Victoria's Secret to launch the latest lingerie collection

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L'Oreal uses QR codes inside taxis. They link the QR code to the shop’s website allowing passengers to shop while on traffic! 

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Diesel is using QR code for product authentication

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Ralph Lauren to combat counterfeit products 

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Zara used QR code in display windows to let window shoppers avail sale items

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Lacoste rolled out QR code ad on tv that let viewers shop from the comfort of their home 

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Related: Top 10 Luxury Brands that are Using QR Codes for Marketing!

Why QR codes don't work? 

  • QR codes fail to work for these various reasons: 
  • QR codes are inverted in colors
  • The colors used in QR codes don't have enough contrast 
  • The QR code is blurry
  • The QR code is pixelated
  • The size is not appropriate to the advertising environment
  • Wrong QR code placement 
  • Broken Link
  • Expired QR code
  • The URL where the QR code links to is deleted or no longer exists
  • The QR code is over-stylize

Related: 10 reasons why your QR code is not working

Pro: tip 

Avoid these mistakes to make your QR codes scannable and put an appropriate action on your QR code to let scanners know what they will get from scanning your QR  code. 

So, are QR codes still relevant in today? 

QR codes are absolutely relevant and will continue to be useful in the coming years. This smart tech-tool has been used in for many years and even more so today that the world is facing a difficult challenge in the health sector. 

QR codes bridge the gap from the online world to the online dimension, gives quick and accurate information in a scan and is convenient in this fast-paced world where people need the in-now-solution and where services need to be swift and advanced- and QR codes can simply provide this.  

So are QR codes still relevant? The simple answer is- yes! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best free QR scanner apps for android and iPhone?

In case your smartphone device does not support QR code reading, you can download QR code scanner apps as an alternative. 

Related: 10 best QR code scanner apps for Android and iPhone