Barcode Statistics

 In Barcode Quality Training

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Statistics about barcode use, and in particular, barcode problems are difficult to obtain. Some of the information we have been able to gather is a bit out of date. However, we feel confident that the numbers shown in the older sources may have remained the same, and probably not improved. Here is what we have been able to gather to date.


  • Reduce medication errors by more than 50%*
  • Reduce adverse drug reactions by 75%*
  • Support accurate electronic medical records*
  • Ensure patient is dosed right with correct medication*
  • 80% of retailers are not confident of their product data***
  • 84% of shoppers use their devices to scan and help them shop***
  • 86% of shoppers are unlikely to buy products from a brand after an experience with inaccurate product data***
  • Inventory inaccuracy accounts for 8.7% of lost sales***
  • 71% of shoppers expect to view in-store inventory online***
  • Overstocks and returns cost retailers $1.75 trillion per year***

Related data:

  • Order picking mistakes can cost $22+
  • Data quality impacts the entire supply chain system***
  • The average company loses $390,000 because of mispicks+
  • The number of American warehouses has grown about 15% since 2010+
  • Implementation of barcodes in electronic medication administration records and medication administration significantly improved patient safety **
  • US retailers have about $1.43 in inventory for every $1 of sales++
  • Inaccurate transactional data can cost up to 25% more in labor alone***
  • 50% failure rate for buy-online and pickup-in-store shopping due to inventory inaccuracy***
  • there is a 15% to 30% increase in sales when buy-online and pickup-in-store fulfillment is available***

Image by Matthias Wewering from Pixabay

What do these numbers mean? Our best guess is that it means different things to different people. We tried to avoid data from sources with an agenda, for example promoting RFID technology as superior to barcodes. We also tried to obtain data from large sampling populations. However, many sources do not disclose their research population sizes. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of this data—we are just passing it along.

Beyond these disclaimers, some conclusions seem reliable. There are meaningful improvement opportunities in virtually all sectors where tracking is involved. Generally, the uses of barcode technology are not “laying new track”, doing things that have never been done before. Mostly barcodes are just doing those things better. And that means, barcode quality is important.

We make no claim that better technologies will not emerge, or in some cases may already be available. This is a slice in time and as of this moment, barcodes are performing an important, money-saving and life-saving role.

*GS1 McKinsey Report, “Strength in Unity: The promise of Global standards I healthcare”

+ US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Insight Works”, January 31, 2018

**US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health “Effect of the Implementation of Barcode Technology and an Electronic Medication Administration Record in Adverse Drug Effects”, June 2016

++Supply Chain Digest, April 23, 2015 “Supply Chain News Bites”

***GS1 Connect Conference 2017




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