Prepare for Sunrise 2027

2D Barcodes are on the horizon for the retail industry.

By 2027 the barcode industry expects that:

  • Brands and manufacturers will have begun incorporating 2D Barcodes into their product labels.
  • all Point of Sale systems will have the capability to scan 2D Barcodes.

Why are barcodes changing?

Throughout history, people have always sought better and more intelligent ways to accomplish tasks, resulting in new inventions and advancements. It's rare to encounter something that hasn't evolved in a long time, as most things can be enhanced. Surprisingly, one of the enduring elements has been the barcode, especially the Universal Product Code (UPC), which has been in use for nearly 50 years.

The global barcode industry has introduced the 2D Barcode and is encouraging retailers to embrace it through a worldwide initiative called 'Sunrise 2027.' This means that they expect all retailers to be able to scan 2D Barcodes at Point of Sale by then. Some retailers will need to update their system to cope with the new 2D Barcodes. Brands and manufacturers are also encouraged to start implementing 2D Barcodes on their packaging before 2027. 

2D Barcodes can be likened to upgrading from a traditional phone to a smartphone, but for your barcode. Traditional EAN/UPC barcodes only provide the barcode number and pricing information when scanned at the Point of Sale. 2D Barcodes, on the other hand, offer much more! When scanned with a smartphone, they connect to a diverse range of digital product information. Customised information can be displayed, ensuring that different individuals scanning the same barcode receive personalized details.

What is Sunrise 2027 and how can brands prepare for it?

From 2027, EAN and UPC codes are expected to be replaced by 2D Barcodes.

The Sunrise 2027 initiative aims to be in full operation by the year 2027. Brands are expected to start using the new 2D Barcodes on their products by 2027, at first adding it alongside the old EAN or UPC barcode. 

The 2D Barcode can function like a traditional UPC or EAN barcode (displaying the price at Point of Sale), therefore eventually the traditional EAN and UPC barcodes will become redundant. In the future, brands might choose to only use the 2D Barcode on their products (this will happen sometime after 2027 when all Point of Sale systems have been updated to be compatible with 2D barcodes).

By 2027, all retailers are expected to scan 2D Barcodes

The barcode industry anticipates that the retail sector will have updated its Point of Sale systems (if necessary) to ensure full compatibility with 2D Barcodes by 2027.

Following this transition, retailers will be capable of scanning 2D Barcodes on product packaging at the Point of Sale, replacing the need to scan EAN or UPC barcodes.

Future-proof your brand and stay competitive

Being an early adopter of 2D barcodes can provide a competitive edge in the market. Brands that offer more accessible and informative product experiences are likely to stand out and attract more customers.

Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace. 2D Barcodes provide a forward-looking solution that aligns with the digitalisation trend. They allow brands to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, technological innovations, and emerging platforms. This adaptability ensures that brands remain relevant and competitive in the ever-evolving marketplace.

Stay compliant with the latest industry regulations

By the year 2027, it will be necessary for 1D barcodes (UPC or EAN) to be paired with 2D Barcodes. All brands will be required to follow the GS1 Standards to ensure these codes function properly on the Point of Sale systems of major retailers. This transition has already commenced in Brazil and Australia. 

Regulations can vary from one region to another. With 2D Barcodes, you can customize product information based on regional regulations and language requirements. This localisation capability ensures that your products adhere to specific regional rules, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

2D Barcodes create an electronic trail of product information interactions. This audit trail can be useful for regulatory audits and compliance reporting. It provides a transparent record of how your brand has disseminated product information to consumers and partners.

Many regions have regulations and guidelines related to environmental sustainability. By using 2D Barcodes to reduce physical packaging and printed materials, your brand can align with sustainability requirements, reducing waste and demonstrating commitment to eco-friendly practices.