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Niamh Manning, marketing executive, PML Group, with this week’s view from OOH.

20th November 2020

In this week’s edition of Now Near Next, we delve into the latest national mobility trends, Ireland’s most recent grocery market share and consumers’ attitudes to upcoming events such as Black Friday and Christmas. We also take a look at a new UK OOH study which shows strong results for advertisers during COVID restrictions.

Locomizer Auto Mobility at 65% 
Locomizer mobility data is based on analysis of mobile phone location data via anonymised app reporting. Latest figures (w/e 9th November) show that the auto mobility level in ROI, which is calculated though a combination of mobile users, time, and signals, is at 65% of where it was pre-COVID-19 recorded at the end of February. Dublin continues to perform above average at 73%, while Cork City at 78% showed a strong weekly gain (+10%).

Dublin’s TomTom Congestion at 71% of 2019 Levels. 

The TomTom Traffic Index provides detailed insights on live and historic road congestion levels in cities around the world. Congestion levels in Dublin average at 36% for Mon-Wed of this week up from 34% recorded for the same days in the previous two weeks. It is down just 2% from the pre-Level 5 figure recorded w/c 12th Oct and stands at 71% of the standard daily congestion level in 2019.

Elsewhere, congestion levels in Cork stabilised at 29% for Mon-Wed of this week up from 27% recorded for the same days w/c 2nd Nov. It is very slightly up on the pre-Level 5 figure recorded w/c 12th Oct and stands at 74% of the standard daily congestion level in 2019.

UK Study Reveals OOH Effectiveness During Restrictions

In recent months, we’ve written about how important it is for brands to continue advertising through challenging times. We’ve also talked about how trust is important, and consumers want to trust the brands they choose are doing the right thing, whether environmentally, for shopper and staff safety or just following the rules.

A recent OOH Industry collaboration in the UK has shown positive outcomes for advertisers during COVID restrictions. The collaboration pooled the results from 65 campaigns between March and September 2020, revealing that advertisers who continued to invest in Out of Home benefitted from strong performance including an average +51% shift in ad recall and increase of +16% for purchase intent. The results are so strong that even comparing these figures to those observed pre-lockdown shows that effectiveness of Out of Home campaigns has not diminished over the period, reflecting the return of significant audiences to high streets, shopping centres and roadside across the summer.

Research studies undertaken by UK media owners and OOH agencies including Posterscope, and endorsed by Out of Home industry body Outsmart, featured campaigns using a raft of OOH media owner sites. The robust study demonstrates not only that Out of Home ads across brands in categories including automotive, FMCG and retail were seen and recalled, but also translated to physical actions, cutting through to consumers in terms of positive actions at the bottom of the marketing funnel.

The overall campaign outcomes showed shifts in test and control scenarios for brands:

  • +51% increase in top of mind awareness
  • +51% increase in Ad recall
  • +3% increase in consideration
  • +16% increase in purchase intent

Studies which analysed effects on footfall showed an increase of over twice the audience visiting a store in a test and control environment.

For particular categories, like automotive, the effect of brands not going dark as the UK came out of the initial lockdown period has proved noticeably beneficial. Overall top of mind awareness for brands increased substantially by an effect one and a half times stronger than for other categories. Automotive advertisers also saw a +5% increase in consideration and a +35% increase in purchase intent.

As high street and roadside Out of Home audiences have returned to normal, some of the key measures affected positively by campaign reach and activation have performed better than expected and above previous levels. This could be due to a less cluttered advertising environment driving greater stand out, but also shows strong audience reach numbers as the industry has flexibly adjusted many campaigns to reach known high audience locations.

Grocery Sales Soar by 14% as Lockdown set in

Kantar’s latest grocery market analysis shows sales grew by 14.4% during the 12 weeks to November 1st.  The growth marked October as the biggest period for grocery sales since the previous lockdown in June. Year-on-year growth was strong again reaching 18.8%.

Dunnes claimed the largest market share in the sector at 22.2% with large growth witnessed in Dublin as shoppers spent an additional €38million at the retailer in the 12-week period. In fact, grocery sales growth in the capital was the largest across all regions with Dublin experiencing Level 5 restrictions from mid-September.

SuperValu was the 2nd largest retailer for the period, with the grocer’s sales growing by 18% to hold a market share of 21.9%.  SuperValu benefitted from the sale of products such as pizza and ready meals which grew by 15%. The chilled convenience category proved popular in the period and was reported to be in high demand among all retailers.

Kantar points to the addition of extra essentials as a huge driver of growth. Tesco shoppers picked up an average of three additional items, with sales growing by 14.8% to hold a market share of 21.2%.

Lidl achieved the strongest growth among the retailers over the past three months, growing by 21.1% with customers spending an additional 50% on branded products. Aldi’s sales grew by 11.7%.

Kantar also said that as the end of the year approaches, consumers are accepting that seasonal traditions and festivities will look a little different this year.

The latest figures reveal the impact the pandemic is having on our seasonal shopping habits. Halloween was a more subdue occasion this year and with trick or treating off the cards sales of multipack sweets declined by 40% compared with October 2019, while sales of pumpkins also dropped by 15.5%.

However, according to Emer Healy, a retail analyst with Kantar; “It’s not all doom and gloom though, and lockdown has led some Irish shoppers to get into the Christmas spirit unseasonably early.  They are getting ahead on preparations for the big day and 50% more shoppers have bought their Christmas turkey than had at this point last year, while sales of mince pies are up 36.8% and boxed chocolate sales by 44%.”

Meanwhile, online grocery sales continue to soar, rising by 90% year on year in the latest four weeks.

Almost Half Planning to Shop Black Friday Deals

New research from iReach Insights looks at consumers awareness of Black Friday and their attitudes and opinions towards the event.

Interestingly, two thirds of the respondents to the survey feel Black Friday is a marketing gimmick designed to boost sales. However, despite the scepticism almost half (45%) are planning on buying products in the Black Friday sales compared to 38% who bought things in-store or online last year.

Consumers seems to be looking to Black Friday events for their Christmas shopping with almost a quarter saying they are planning to make the most of the discounts by buying their Christmas presents during the deal bonanza.

Keeping Pace with Christmas

Insights into the Christmas season was produced by Empathy Research that explores some key themes for the upcoming festive period.

While we will experience a Christmas like no other, the research shows consumers are keen to follow their same rituals this year with over half (59%) reporting they will keep to the same rituals.

Supporting local was another big theme in the body of research with 67% stating they will support local/Irish businesses more this Christmas while over half (52%) will make a concentrated effort to only buy from Irish brands. Shopping at local independent stores also emerged as a key intention this year with 54% saying they will shop more in these types of establishments.

However, pricing is still at the fore with nearly half (45%) saying they will purchase expensive gifts from the cheapest source, whether it is an Irish company or not. And almost half (41%) stated they won’t be spending as much this Christmas.

Brands also have an opportunity to strike a chord with consumer in the run up to the holidays with 45% stating they will be looking to buy from brand/stores with a positive social purpose or cause this Christmas.