Scanbuy Releases Barcode Report: Droid the Scanning Leader, CA the Top Scanning State

Scanbuy, which offers mobile barcode scanning technology, is trying to mainstream its usage among consumers and brands/advertisers. To that end the company has released its first "ScanLife Mobile Barcode Trend Report." The document charts the growth of mobile barcode scanning and ranks the product categories, handsets and geographies where it's happening.

California leads the US and North America, which leads the rest of the world. Scanbuy says that mobile barcode scanning is happening in 45 countries and on every continent. The company also says that people are transacting on mobile phones after scanning in many cases. 

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Motorola Droid is the top scanning handset, followed by the iPhone. Droid over-indexes, according to Scanbuy, because of "pre-loaded barcode scanners on some devices and strong support from carriers like Verizon."

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The following table shows the product categories that are most heavily scanned according to Scanbuy. The orange text shows top categories wherein people are buying directly on mobile devices after scanning: 

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Finally scanners are 74% male and 26% female, which is especially interesting given the product category list above (assuming that women are more represented in the top two categories).

This is all interesting data and shows how in many instances it's easier for people to scan barcodes than conduct a search for the product in question. It's not mentioned in the report but most of this scanning is probably happening in stores. Previously InsightExpress reported that 82% of mobile phone owners in the US used them (in one way or another) in stores.

Scanning faces a few hurdles right now on its way to the mainstream. Unless apps are pre-installed, there's the need to download -- though some scanning apps (e.g., RedLaser) have been very sucessful. There's also the challenge of differentiating among scanning apps. Then there's the basic functionality. 

In my use of multiple scanning apps in stores I find that at least 50% of the time they don't work. Either they can't fix on the barcode or they don't have the data thereafter. The technology, data and usability will improve over time however. 

Barcodes are also increasingly being used to tie media in the "real world" to promotions of one sort or another. The most recent example is Scanbuy's integration into TV ads from online retailer Bluefly.