QR Code Usage by Country: Use-Cases Around the World

How often do you come across QR Codes? If you’re like many, the answer is probably several times a day. 

QR Code popularity has quadrupled in the last few years. This is thanks, in part, to growing QR Code accessibility as most smartphones now have built-in QR Code readers. 

Companies worldwide have begun embracing these square grids as the marketing wizards that they are. Moreover, people are taking creative routes to infuse them in their art, ad campaigns, and even drone lighting performances, proving there’s a QR Code solution for anything.

Here, we’ll look at QR Code usage by country, delving into the unique ways countries use these two-dimensional barcodes. 

A general view of how countries use QR Codes today

There’s tremendous growth in the uptake of QR Code technology globally because it’s a proven effective communication and marketing tool. There was a 41% increase in global adoption between 2022 and 2023 on the Bitly Connections Platform and QR Code Generator alone, showing just how popular this technology has become. 

With countries like China, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, and the UK increasing their QR Code use, there are no signs that usage will decline in the coming years. In fact, QR Codes may become even more popular as more countries find creative ways to use them, including:

  • Digital QR Code payments: There was an increase in the usage of QR Codes for contactless payments during the pandemic. Usage has continued to date because QR Codes facilitate seamless digital payments, improving customer experiences. 

  • Social media: QR Codes provide a seamless way for businesses and individuals to connect on social platforms. It only takes a scan to direct audiences to your social media pages. 

  • Education: Schools use QR Codes to offer easy access to virtual learning platforms, provide books, communicate with students, and more!

  • Accessibility: QR Code technology makes it easier for people living with disabilities to access information. For example, Kellogg’s uses QR Codes on product packaging to help people with vision loss access its products’ ingredient and allergen information. When scanned, the QR Codes direct customers to an app that reads the product information out loud. 

  • Coupons or discounts: QR Code technology allows customers to redeem QR Code coupons via mobile phones. 

  • Digital identification: Individuals use QR Codes for mobile authentication when logging into apps and websites to confirm their identities. 

As individuals and businesses continually develop creative ideas to use QR Codes, their usage will continue to grow. 

QR Code usage by country: A deep dive

You were promised a QR Code journey around the world, and we have several stops along the way! So, without further ado, let’s head to our first destination: the U.S.

Note: All of these examples were found during our online research while writing this article.

United States of America

When roughly 81.6% of Americans own a smartphone, it’s easy to predict why QR Code popularity has skyrocketed here. More access = more scans.

But there’s more to the growth of QR Code usage beyond easier access. Businesses in the country are quick to adopt the technology as it’s convenient for clients to make mobile payments, access information, and redeem special offers and loyalty points. 

While people have been using QR Codes in the US for decades, there was a notable acceleration in their adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses sought to provide contactless transactions. Since then, they have used QR Codes creatively to boost brand awareness and provide better client experiences. 

Government agencies have also jumped on the QR Code bandwagon. In 2022, NASA developed an interactive map featuring 17 QR Codes to celebrate Earth Day. The QR Codes served as gateways to landscapes from all over the world—all you have to do is scan them to access NASA web pages that contain resources such as videos and information about the state of the planet, the impacts of human activities on climate, NASA technology, and more!

We know what you’re thinking—how could something so small do so much? Well, the answer lies in finding the right QR Code solution. If you want to share information and videos like NASA, Dynamic URL QR Codes and Video QR Codes are the perfect solutions. 


France is a top contender for countries with the highest QR Code usage rates. Businesses in the country use QR Codes for numerous purposes, including ticketing, contactless payments, information sharing, coupons, and more. 

The financial sector is one of the largest users of QR Codes. French banks use QR Code technology to facilitate seamless mobile banking and improve customer experiences. All someone needs to do is scan a designated QR Code to identify themselves and authenticate transactions from their bank. 

Retail and online stores in the country have also adopted the tech to facilitate convenient product ordering and delivery. 

The technology is popular in the country for various reasons, including the high number of smartphones and the French government’s unwavering support of digital technology. In fact, the government itself adopted QR Code technology in 2020 through the TousAntiCovid app. The app allowed residents and tourists to provide vaccination certificates and COVID-19 test results through simple QR Code scans. 

Whether you’re in the finance, retail, or government sector, rest assured there’s a QR Code solution for you. If you have an app, you can provide an App QR Code to facilitate seamless app download and installation, allowing customers to access your services quickly. 


India is one of the largest QR Code users globally, with a 550% increase in QR Code usage between 2019 and 2020. The significant leap occurred as more businesses and customers sought contactless payment solutions during the pandemic. 

Today, QR Codes have many uses in India. Smartphone users in the country scan QR Codes to access product information, authenticate transactions, and enhance marketing strategies. Schools also use QR Codes as educational tools to make learning materials more accessible to students, showing there are no bounds to what they can achieve. 

In 2023, Vodafone Idea, a telecom operator, used QR Code technology to help keep children safe during the annual Mandala Puja season. The company provided bands with QR Codes linked to parents’ contact information (similar to what you could do with the vCard Plus QR Code) to help the police find the parents of children who got lost in the festival’s crowds. 


Brazil has managed to elevate the look of QR Codes, making them as elegant as ever via mosaic tiles. On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, the city has carved QR Codes on its mosaic tiles to share the rich history of Brazil. One of the first QR Codes etched into the ground can be found at Arpoador, a boulder near the end of Ipanema Beach. 

Beyond this, businesses in the country use QR Codes for information sharing, marketing, and seamless payments. The monetary authority of Brazil has adopted QR Code technology in payments. It created PIX, a real-time payment platform that facilitates instantaneous fund transfers. The app contains a QR Code scanning feature that allows shoppers to pay for goods seamlessly using in-store QR Codes. 

If, like Brazil, you want to provide information about products, consider a PDF QR Code. For seamless payments, consider an EPC QR Code for direct money transfers or a Bitcoin QR Code if you accept cryptocurrency payments. We recommend a minimum QR Code size of 2 x 2 cm (0.8 x 0.8 in) for such solutions to promote optimal scannability. 


In a Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab study, three in five Canadians reported they scanned QR Codes at a grocery store or restaurant. The pandemic and the large number of smartphone users in the country are some of the main reasons for the huge uptake of QR Code technology. 

Both large and small businesses use the Codes to facilitate seamless digital payments, share information, and engage with customers on digital mediums like social media platforms. 

A notable use case is Tim Hortons’ scan and pay feature. The popular Canadian coffee and fast food chain uses QR Codes on its app to allow customers to pay for food. Those who are members of the Tims Rewards loyalty program can also earn and redeem points for their purchases.

If you’re interested in following Tim Hortons’s strategy, create a Coupon QR Code to allow customers to access rewards or discounts. To get the most out of this strategy, brand your QR Codes by adding your logo or using your brand colors to increase brand awareness. 


A study conducted by YouGov shows that 74% of Singaporean respondents used QR Codes more actively during the pandemic than they did before. This shows that, like in many countries on this list, the pandemic was one of the main reasons for the increase in the adoption of QR Code technology. 

Businesses in the country use QR Codes for numerous reasons, one of the main ones being to facilitate seamless payment transactions. In fact, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has implemented the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR+), a standardized QR Code that consolidates payment from multiple digital payment methods, including WeChat and GrabPay. This is a convenient and cost-effective way for merchants to receive payments and customers to pay for products. 

Explore our Bitcoin and EPC QR Code solutions to facilitate seamless business payments. 

United Kingdom

Although slow adopters of the four-sided-shaped grid, the UK eventually caught up with the zeitgeist. Retailers in the UK use QR Codes to provide product information. They also accept QR Code payment solutions to improve customer experiences. 

But QR Codes aren’t only confined to businesses—educational institutions and non-profit organizations have also taken a liking to them to connect with their audiences.

A recent QR Code idea that piqued our curiosity is Beatson Cancer Charity’s fundraiser. They made a dream team with Good Thyngs, a digital fundraising platform, to broaden their scope of donor reach and engagement using interactive QR Codes. This resulted in roughly £15,985 in total donations

If you run a non-profit organization, explore some of our QR Codes for donations to help encourage more contributions. 


Spain has not been left behind in the adoption of QR Code technology. Both businesses and the Government use the technology to make processes more convenient and efficient. Common business use cases are payments, information-sharing, and marketing. 

The Government, through the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), came up with a brilliant concept involving QR Codes to help the visually impaired and blind navigate around the city. It then embedded the QR Codes on stickers and put them on walls in transit stations. 

By scanning the Codes, people with vision impairments receive audio messages that help them navigate the transit system more confidently. Recently, the Spanish authority has also adopted QR Codes that allow transport officers to inspect drivers’ transport documents more seamlessly


QR Codes were first developed in Japan. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that the country has one of the highest usage rates. 

QR Codes have evolved from simply being inventory tracking tools in the automotive sector to becoming invaluable in different industries in Japan. One of the most notable uses is payments. Businesses and individuals in the country are moving away from cash-based payments to digital payments, thanks to QR Code technology. 

Rakuten Pay, an e-commerce service company in Japan, allows customers to pay for products by simply scanning QR Codes. If you want to offer the same convenience, consider our EPC or Bitcoin QR Codes.


Germany is one of the leading QR Code users in Europe. The country has QR Codes for Government, business, entertainment, and personal uses. Here, QR Codes allow entities to communicate seamlessly with their audiences. 

One of the most notable uses of QR Codes is the “Gaffen Tötet,” or “Gawking Kills,” campaign. The Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe, a German ambulance service, put QR Codes on their vehicles and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) equipment to draw attention to a law prohibiting people from capturing footage during emergencies. 


Famous for wowing the world with innovations, the popularity of the QR Code in China is unquestionable. Some of the most popular applications of QR Codes in the country include payment, marketing, and product quality control. People also employ QR Codes for personal use such as party planning, travel, and collar tags for pets. 

China is constantly proving that technology knows no bounds. In 2021, Chinese video-streaming company Bilibili took to the skies with 1,500 drones to create a scannable QR Code. When scanned, the Code led spectators to the company’s homepage, where they accessed the video game “Princess Connect! Re: Dive.”

Take advantage of the global QR Code revolution

As you’ve seen from these countries’ QR Code usage, there’s a never-ending list of QR Code ideas to add to your itinerary. Whether used for educational purposes, advertising, or spreading awareness, these symmetrical squares can be shapeshifted into anything—virtual and non-virtual.

QR Code Generator PRO allows your creativity to shine by letting you create QR Codes for whichever purpose you have in mind. You can follow the USA’s lead and create fun and interactive QR Codes that link to different types of content, or China’s lead and create drone QR Codes—the possibilities are endless. 

Sign up for QR Code Generator PRO today to join the many businesses and individuals around the world who are already using QR Codes to offer better experiences. 

Tobias Funke

Tobias Funke is Bitly’s Vice President of Product. With a background in software engineering, he has a decade of combined experience in product development and the QR Code space. Tobias leads a team that developed one of the most successful and popular QR Code generators available. His entrepreneurial and growth mindset helps build products that continuously disrupt the market. You can connect with Tobias on LinkedIn.

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