New mobile-phone capability, coupled with physical stores’ response to the encroachment of e-commerce, will help drive the volume of digital coupons in the next few years, according to a new report.
Worldwide redemptions of coupons via mobile phones and online will grow at an average annual rate of 14.1% through 2022, nearly doubling from $47.2 billion in 2017 to $91.2 billion. That’s according to Juniper Research, a United Kingdom-based research firm, in its white paper, “Coupons—3 New Technologies Set to Energise Loyalty.”
Sharing in this surge is the quick-response code, which has been used for mobile couponing for a number of years but has been held back, Juniper says, by the need, on the Apple iPhone, to install a dedicated app. With the introduction of an operating system update, iOS 11, in September, however, QR-code reading became possible directly through the phone’s camera.
That means “QR codes could see a rapid increase in nations outside of Asia,” the report says, pointing out that the bar-code technology has been most popular in China and the Far East. Some major U.S. merchants, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its Sam’s Club unit, began adopting a related technology, barcode-scanning, in 2016 for self-checkout.
For brick-and-mortar stores in particular, mobile and online couponing via QR codes offers a way to cement customers’ loyalty and compete with digital stores. Indeed, this move goes “beyond creating awareness and facilitating payment via mobile devices, to a deeper and richer integration of digital-loyalty programs,” Juniper’s paper says.
With this new momentum, the volume of mobile coupon redemptions by QR code will climb from 1.3 billion last year to 5.3 billion by 2022, Juniper forecasts.
But while QR codes offer substantial advantages for linking physical-world media to mobile devices, the technology could have a relatively brief resurgence, at least when it comes to couponing. “It’s worth noting that QR codes will be in competition with other technologies such as [near-field communication] and social-media bots, meaning their time may be short-lived any way as these new technologies are increasingly taken up by consumers,” warns the report.