1D Mobile Barcode Scanning Traffic Expected to Rise Again during Back-to-School and Holiday Shopping Seasons

Oyster Bay, New York - 05 Aug 2011

2D barcodes attract market interest and media hype, but after more than 40 years of use conventional 1D linear barcodes are still useful, ubiquitous, and remain important in mobile barcode scanning applications, especially in late Q3 and Q4 2011.

According to ABI Research director Michael Liard, “Mobile barcode scanning activity tends to surge during peak shopping seasons. At certain times of year, such as the end-of year holiday season and the late-summer ‘back to school’ supplies buying season, price-checks and comparison shopping  tilt the balance strongly in favor of traditional 1D barcodes.”

A recent survey from ABI Research showed that price tags and product packaging – both mostly the preserve of 1D codes – were, at 56% and 63% respectively, by far the most common sources of barcodes scanned by smartphone users in the United States.

The continuing strength and importance of the 1D barcode is also demonstrated by several scanner/reader apps. For example, the AT&TScanner can “toggle” back and forth between 1D and 2D barcode reading as required. Scan&Shop from GTR Software also supports dual code reading as does eBay’s RedLaser tool. ShopSavvy from Mobi Identity Solutions, on the other hand, exclusively supports 1D barcodes, requiring a separate reader for 2D codes.

Linear barcodes are also playing a critical role in a large number of “On Device” Mobile Barcode Scanning (ODMBS) campaigns and deployment/adoption efforts. Two key example applications are “mobile” gift cards such as Target’s and Starbucks’ national programs (US) and “mobile” loyalty cards – especially the increasingly used “aggregator apps” such as CardStar, Key Ring, and others which store multiple loyalty card numbers in one app (to eliminate the need to carry countless loyalty cards or key fobs).

In the overwhelming majority of loyalty and gift card campaigns, linear 1D barcodes remain the typical ID format as all the information they need to deliver is a unique number or identifier tied to database – not a URL, digital content or some other marketing message.

ABI Research’s “Mobile Barcode Scanning” study focuses on the high-level technology considerations, market trends, application examples, market dynamics and consumer adoption trends tied to mobile barcode scanning.

It is part of the Barcode Scanning Research Service.

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