The upcoming release of the Online Retail in South Africa 2015 study by World Wide Worx will shed light on the take-up of one of the most mysterious emerging areas of ecommerce: the QR Code.
It stands for Quick Response Code, but most people will know it as a square, barcode-like pattern seen at points of sale or in apps like BlackBerry Messenger. The latter represented many South Africans’ first exposure to QR Codes, when it became the quickest way to add a friend on BBM.
In the past year, however, it has quietly gained new life as mobile apps like SnapScan roped it in for payments at small merchants, flea markets and the like. It has also been appearing on print advertising, posters and window displays throughout the country.
By the end of 2014, more than 2,1-million South Africans were using QR Codes, even as a debate raged around the question, “Are QR Codes dead?” Of these users, 1,1-million were male, with female users only marginally behind, at 1,04-million.
“Mobile payment systems are quickly becoming mainstream, and it will be fascinating to see how the more mechanical systems like QR Codes compete,” says World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck. “Ideally, there should be room for any system, with each one finding its ideal niche. But there are no certainties in a sector that is moving so fast.”
QR Code usage is strongly age-related, with 673 000 users in the peak age group of 25-34. In contrast, the 15-24 segment amounts to only 471 000, while 494 000 are aged from 35 to 44. A similar amount – 425 000 – makes up the 45-65 age group. Usage drops significantly with retirement age: the 65+ age group comprises 88 000 users.
A detailed breakdown of QR Code usage and demographics will be included in Online Retail in South Africa 2015
The report is based on primary research by technology market research leaders World Wide Worx, as well as collaboration with Ask Afrika, the leading market research organisation on the continent. Data from Ask Afrika’s Target Group Index (TGI), a research project with a sample of more than 15 000 respondents annually, will provide demographic and behavioural components of the report.
“TGI is a single-source database that provides brand and product consumption trends for South African consumers, coupled with detail around spending and retail shopping habits of South Africans that can be tracked over time,” says Andrea Rademeyer, CEO and founder of Ask Afrika. “It allows us to build benchmarks and currency data which are both reliable and up-to-date. The partnership with World Wide Worx feeds directly into this purpose and we are thrilled to be working with Arthur Goldstuck.”
World Wide Worx is partnering with Ask Afrika to refine the communications, electronics and technology elements of TGI, in order to produce the most detailed picture yet of the digital habits of South Africans. The TGI research is conducted in two six-month “waves” every year, with a nationally representative sample of more than
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