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COVID-19: A Shot in the Arm for QR Codes at Retail

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HAYWARD, CA – (November 18, 2021) –  OnQ, a leading manufacturer of custom retail displays, today released results of a national survey, QR Code Consumer Use Study, which explores how shopper behavior around QR codes has evolved since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, customer use of QR codes has increased dramatically during the pandemic as retailers moved quickly to offer shoppers touch-free interactive experiences in store.


“Make no mistake, the pandemic was hugely disruptive to the retail industry. But we’re now starting to see that many changes to the in-store shopping experience borne out of necessity during the pandemic’s darkest days are having a lasting, positive effect,” said OnQ CEO Paul Chapuis. “The increased use of QR codes at retail is a great example of a pandemic-driven change that’s here to stay. Brands and retailers are seizing the opportunity to deepen customer engagement now that shoppers are much more comfortable interacting with QR codes.”


QR Code Use on the Rise

The study revealed a sharp increase in QR code use on a regular basis. Survey respondents indicated a 110% increase in QR code usage on a daily or weekly basis compared to 2019. This means that frequent QR code use has more than doubled since the onset of the pandemic.


Why Scan a QR Code?

Survey respondents also gave some insight into what motivates them to scan QR codes at retail. Overwhelmingly so, the primary reasons customers choose to scan QR codes are to 1. Take advantage of a discount or other special offer (65%), and 2. Get additional product information (61%). Other common uses for scanning QR codes include completing a mobile purchase, joining a customer loyalty program and viewing an expanded assortment of products not available in-store.


QR Codes vs. Touch Interactivity

Until recently, touch interaction was by far the most common form of interactivity offered in-store. The pandemic dealt a temporary blow to touch interactivity as customers became more reluctant to engage with high-touch surfaces, such as interactive displays. QR codes filled the gap, enabling retailers to offer touch-free interactive experiences customers control with their phones. Even now as concerns about touch-based COVID-19 transmission begin to wane, shoppers are still 20% more likely to engage with a QR code than a touch-interactive display – further proof that using QR codes at retail is a customer behavior that is here to stay.


Study Demographics & Methodology 

This third-party study commissioned by OnQ surveyed customers throughout the United States who own a smartphone, are familiar with QR codes, and regularly shop at a variety of retail establishments, including mass multi-department retailers, club stores, consumer electronics stores, department stores, malls, drug stores, hardware stores and specialty retailers. Of the more than 400 respondents that completed the survey, 51% identified as female and 49% identified as male. The majority of respondents (35%) were 18-29 years old, while 32% were 45-60, 19% were over 60, and 14% were 30-44 years old.


Want to Learn More about Using QR Codes at Retail?

OnQ offers a full range of solutions for brands and retailers that want to deliver interactive retail experiences. QR codes can be integrated into virtually any retail fixture to increase customer engagement and capture valuable insight into customer behavior in store. Visit for more information, or contact us at to learn how OnQ can bring touchless interactivity to your store.



About OnQ

OnQ designs, engineers and manufactures custom retail displays. The company is headquartered in Hayward, CA with production facilities in Akron, OH. Founded in 2004 and incorporated in 2007, OnQ’s modular, flexible retail display platform enables retailers and brands to easily and cost-effectively refresh product assortment with minimal disruption. The company’s displays are used to showcase a variety of product categories, including consumer electronics, home automation, pet care, health & beauty and household products. For more information, visit

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