Recently, I went to do a Google search and the “what’s trending” list that pops up on the screen first caught my eye. Number five on the list was “QR Scanner.” It was just below Ballz and just above Flappy Bird. Seriously. QR Codes are cool again. Who knew?

I decided to investigate, so I went to Google Trends to see how searches on QR Codes have trended over time. I compared the search volumes for “QR Code,” “QR Code scanner,” and “scan QR Code.” What I found was interesting.

  • Overall, searches on “QR Codes” have been flat over the past year. There was, however, a massive spike between November-December 2016. Anybody know what that was about?
  • Since then, searches on QR Codes and related terms have declined back to the level where they have been for some time. The exceptions are in the market categories.
  • In the automotive market, for example, the trend line looks like a Z-fold pamphlet. Up down, up down, up down. There is tons of volatility there.
  • In books and literature, the trend lines are higher than most other categories. Higher numbers of searches suggests a higher level of activity among publishers, which is driving readers to understand the print-to-mobile pathway.
  • In the financial industry, there has been a sharp pike in interest since the beginning of May 2017 to the present. In fact, at its peak (which was as of this writing), searches were at their highest levels since 2012.
  • Internet and telecom has the highest search volumes of the market categories. Of particular interest, “scan QR Code” has by far the highest search volumes compared to the others terms, including searches for “QR Code” by itself. This is the only category for which this is true, and volumes weren’t just a little higher. They were significantly higher, and this has been consistent over the past 12 months. The question is, why?

I could go on, but you get the idea. There is much to be learned from playing around with the filters and seeing how searches change by category and historical length selected. If you have clients in these categories, this data can open productive discussions about what the trend lines are, who is most likely driving these trends (competitors, customers) and why they are using them, what this means for them, and how you can help.