Nearly half (45 percent) of American adults say they’re noticing out-of-home (OOH) advertising more than before the pandemic began, according to the results of a survey the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and The Harris Poll fielded from September 21-23 among 2,058 US adults aged 18 and up.
The finding comes as consumers have a newfound appreciation for the outdoors, spurred by shelter-in-place orders. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they try to get out of the house as often as they can, even if it’s just a drive or walk around town. Forty-eight percent are also on the hunt for new places to work from home or spend time al fresco, including outdoor parks, outdoor coffee shops or a friend’s patio.
This new shift in behavior has given OOH ads greater visibility, In fact, 45 percent of respondents said they’re noticing billboards, outdoor video screens, posters, signage and other OOH ads more now than before the pandemic.
Among the most helpful OOH ads to consumers are those that include information on COVID-19 safety and hygiene (38 percent), special offers and promotions (23 percent) and updates on a brand’s business hours and services (20 percent).
When asked what their reaction is to these types of OOH ads, 29 percent said they’re grateful for the useful information, 23 percent said it informed them about something new and 20 percent said it comforted them as it’s a sign that business is resuming as usual.
When thinking about products to buy for themselves and others, 56 percent said billboards were useful, followed by 50 percent for subway or public transit station posters and 49 percent for ads on bus shelters or benches. However, 53 percent said ads on the sides of busses or taxi cabs are not helpful.
Consumers’ renewed tendencies to spend time outside is a detriment to digital marketers as 68 percent said they spend so much time looking at screens these days that they often tune out digital online ads.
Though 65 percent of respondents said they’re interested in taking a road trip due to the pandemic, many are reluctant to use certain modes of transportation. For example, 42 percent are using airplanes less and 34 percent said they won’t board a flight until after the pandemic. Similarly, 37 percent said they’re using taxi or ride-sharing services less and 27 percent won’t use these services until the pandemic is over.
In the next few months, 45 percent of respondents said their travel patterns will be decreasing in number of trips and distance in comparison to pre-pandemic; 27 percent believe their travel patterns will be similar to what they were; and 19 percent said their travel patterns will be similar to what they were before the pandemic but more focused on trips closer to home.
COVID-19 has affected 80 percent of consumers’ holiday plans, with 45 percent reporting that they plan to stay home and celebrate with their immediate family only and 27 percent saying they’ll limit the number of people at gatherings to 10 people or less.
Just three percent are willing to travel internationally during the holidays and four percent are willing to travel domestically over 1,000 miles. A majority of respondents will travel anywhere from 50 to 200 miles during the holidays. Twenty-nine percent said they don’t plan to travel to any holiday destination this November or December. For those who do have travel holiday plans, 56 percent will use their personal vehicle and 16 percent will fly.
As far as holiday shopping, 68 percent plan to spend more or the same amount on holiday meals and wine, liquor or beer. But 58 percent prefer shopping online from September through January, followed by 42 percent who want to shop in person.
Still, 43 percent said they try to make fewer trips to the store and stock up on as many items as they can to minimize their in-store shopping, while 34 percent said they’ve stopped casually shopping in-person and only go in for pre-determined items.
The pandemic has also disrupted brand loyalty as 43 percent said they use a mix of new brands and brands they’re familiar with since the pandemic. Thirty-two percent haven’t tried new brands.
Lastly, 65 percent of consumers wish there were more outdoor dining offerings as 47 percent are tired of cooking meals at home.