COLOGNE: German consumers are far more likely than their UK counterparts to scan QR codes, although take-up rates for these tools remain low in both countries.

A new report from market research firm SKOPOS shows that 24% of German mobile phone users have accessed web content via one of the codes in the past, compared to 12% of UK users.

The firm also found that only 4% of German respondents regularly used QR codes, and that this cohort tended to be male and under 40 years old.

Lack of awareness and engaging content emerged as major barriers to future growth for the services, with 24% of Britons who had scanned a QR code saying they had a "poor" experience, and 50% of the total sample saying they had never heard of the codes.

Speaking to Internet Retailing, Darren Mark Noyce, chief consultant at SKOPOS, said that significant investment in QR codes by German brand owners over the past two years helped to explain the nation's outperformance in usage rates.

"QR codes are most likely to be used when consumers know exactly what information they will receive, such as in timetables, nutrition information and recipes for food that downloads or specific product information," he added.

"Scanning a mobile QR code should be a shortcut to valued content or offers, not an effort, nor a disappointment."

A recent global report conducted by business services firm Oracle indicated that 14% of mobile subscribers had previously scanned a QR code with their phone.

Data sourced from SKOPOS/Internet Retailing; additional content by Warc staff