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Lockdowns are easing! What does it mean for DOOH?

As we move inexorably towards the magic vaccination numbers required for the easing of lockdown restrictions across Australia, what can we learn from other markets around the world?

In countries around the world, it seems that the desire to return to levels of normality has seen the mediums worst affected by a downturn being the very same ones that are showing huge growth numbers post-lockdowns.

OOH has been at the forefront of these growth figures in overseas markets. This is because new levels of normality encourage people to do exactly the things that deliver OOH audiences in large numbers. With people now able to socialise, move freely, and generally be out and about, OOH audience numbers in overseas markets have bounced back in a big way.

The USA and the UK have entered into an almost normal way of living and have consequently seen an exponential increase in OOH spend, particularly DOOH spend as planners once again utilise the intrinsic benefits of the medium.

According to The Out of Home Advertising Association of America, OOH advertising revenue has increased 38%, and DOOH has increased almost 80% in the second quarter of 2021 in the USA. All top 10 industry product categories increased double digits. This includes retail, insurance and real estate, media and advertising, restaurants, government politics and organisations, public transportation, hotels and resorts, financial automotive dealers and services, schools, camps, and seminars. Similarly, Magna, a division of IPG, has also forecasted OOH to be the second fastest growing ad channel in 2021 in the USA with a projected annual increase of 10.4%.

Similar trends are being seen in the UK where the OOH sector has seen a growth of 277% in the second quarter of this year. The recorded increases were across the board with both traditional and digital OOH revenues increasing 339% and 247%, respectively. Digital OOH share of total revenue is 63% in the UK which is significantly above its pre-pandemic level of 53%. The Advertising Association/WARC has forecasted the total UK OOH spend to grow 29.3% this year.

Is this what we can expect to see in Australia post lockdown and in 2022?

Prior to Australia’s two largest cities experiencing the most recent extended lockdowns, and after the COVID lockdown period in 2020, OOH industry revenue was up 22.1% in Q1 2021, according to the OMA. Data suggests that automobile, media, and retail will be driving the recovery. This growth is expected to return as the end of the year represents a major opportunity for brands with one of the biggest spending periods of the year.

With the potential relaxation of lockdowns and the Australian government signaling a desire to return to ‘almost normal’, similar to the USA and UK, once vaccination levels reach appropriate levels, the predictions could be just around the corner.

We are already feeling a lot of buzz for the upcoming Summer season. The warmer weather will play a major factor in driving people outdoors over the next six months, increasing OOH audiences and therefore the relevancy of the OOH sector. The traditionally busy periods of November and December will require action now to be able to secure highly-demanded OOH inventory. It is expected that many brands will increase spend over the coming months as vaccination rates increase and further steps towards a more normal Christmas season.

Considering overseas trends post-lockdown, local mitigating factors and the continued investment the industry has placed into its product, OOH is set to grow over the next few months and potentially over the next year. The smart planners will move fast to make sure their clients don't miss out.


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