Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is taking on a new lease of life in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns, with 45% of American adults saying they are noticing the format more than before the pandemic began. Heightened awareness is particularly pronounced among those ages 18-54, according to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA).
‘A new resonance’ for OOH in the US?
An online survey carried out by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Out of Home Advertising Association of America drew responses from a representative sample of 2,058 US adults between 21 and 23 of September.
This showed a significant percentage of respondents were receptive to safety and hygiene advertisements as well as other sales and promotions.
Many were thankful of the apparent return to normality conveyed by OOH messaging as a visible harbinger of business confidence, as well as welcoming the information provided.
Consumer Trends & OOH – Q4 2020 found 68% of US consumers fret that they are devoting too much time to their devices and screens, prompting many to actively tune out digital online ads.
69% of those quizzed also revealed a growing positive awareness of their surroundings as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually relaxed.
Changing consumer travel habits
The survey found that locked-down Americans are travelling more, though closer to home, with holiday restrictions limiting international exploration.
During the pandemic, 40% of Americans report walking more often, 27% report cycling and scootering more frequently and 29% report driving more often.
80% of Americans have seen their vacation plans upended, though 67% still expect to enjoy a holiday and 42% expected to travel at least as much as they did last year.
25% are electing to stay within a 50-mile radius of their home – although 20% expect to travel as much as 200 miles and 25% set their sites even further afield. Reflecting the reduced range of their journeys, 56% drove to their vacations and just 16% opted to fly; 8% chose public transport.
Reacting to the findings, Anna Bager, OAAA president and chief executive officer, said: “After the challenges of lockdown we are all enjoying time in our neighborhoods and beyond — with a greater appreciation for everything we experience outside of our homes. This research has confirmed that OOH has the power to influence consumers as never before.”
Where Covid-19 has made its presence felt most keenly is in a push for efficiency and safety – with 43% making fewer trips but buying more to stock up on essentials.
A further 34% have ceased casual shopping in-store, venturing out only for specific items as required. Meanwhile, 29% actively seek out stores with rigorous safety measures in place such as one-way aisles.
Consumers have become more adventurous in their purchases,with 40% utilising a mix of new and familiar brands and 12% pledging to stick with newly discovered names. An equal number say their switch in loyalty has been forced by a lack of choice in the market and will switch back once possible while 32% stick to their accustomed brands.
Bager adds: “Couple these holiday travel findings with the dramatic increase in people noticing and appreciating OOH — and it’s clear that brands have a strong opportunity to reach consumers on-the-road, at the airport, or at the checkout line when buying what’s needed for the festivities. Moreover, the shifts in the supply chain have opened doors for new brands to find a way into shopping carts and gift boxes this holiday season.”
“Out is ‘in’ this year,” said John Gerzema, chief executive at The Harris Poll. “Americans are doing as much as possible outside to make life as normal as possible amid the pandemic.“