The COVID-19 crisis has caused a worldwide spike in the use of QR Code technology. Consumers are turning to it for contactless payments, while brands and businesses are utilising the barcode technology to deliver an enhanced customer experience – a hot topic for companies wanting to attract customers while some 20% of the world’s population remains under some form of lockdown.

The Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards was the first South African drinks competition to embrace QR Code technology on the bottle stickers of award-winning wines. To date, these have been collectively scanned in as many as 95 countries around the world with significant activity in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

A close up of a bottle of wineDescription automatically generated

“Supporting local wine and spirits producers is one of the primary objectives of the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards and the use of QR Codes on these stickers has given producers a means of engaging with consumers, even while the industry was unable to trade under Level 5 and 4 lockdown regulations,” says Mynard Slabbert, Co-owner and Head of Business Development at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards.

He continues: “Consumers are able to scan these codes with a smartphone, which gives them instant access to a range of product information, including tasting notes and the history behind the wine. This helps to set Award-winning producers apart from their competitors and empowers consumers who are now able to make an informed decision about their purchase, which in-turn also aids in driving sales for producers. The benefits of QR code technology proved particularly valuable in international markets where the sale of alcohol remained permitted under lockdown.”

In countries like China, 65% of consumers think that having QR Codes on product packaging instils a blanket of trust, while in Brazil, 75% of shoppers scan QR Codes on a regular basis to access shopping assistance. Globally,  usage of QR Code-enabled smart packaging is growing at a CAGR of 8%  and is predicted to be valued at  $7.8 billion by 2021.

“With figures like these, we are confident that we are hitting the mark with international consumers, and with QR Code usage in the Middle East and Africa increasing from 12% in 2017 to 18% in 2018, powered in part by rising smartphone penetration, we know we are on the right track in terms of reaching consumers on the continent too,” shares Slabbert.  

He adds that, in addition to being a consumer engagement and education tool, QR Codes also provide winners with unique insights into global markets where their wines and spirits are being scanned. “This enables them to gauge their success in certain countries – and even states and cities – and adjust their marketing strategies if needed.”

“The QR Codes on our stickers is just one of the many ways we increase international sales and marketing for local producers. With this in mind, coupled with the imperative for vintages to stand out on local store shelves now that alcohol sales have reopened, we encourage  producers to enter this year’s competition,” concludes Slabbert.

Entries close on 31 July. For the chance to access new and wider brand recognition opportunities, enter at