Over the past eighteen months the way people shop has changed. Prior to COVID, online shopping was experiencing growth, up 10% in the first two months of 2020 (versus 2019) according to a report by New Zealand Post. However, during COVID, online shopping really accelerated, resulting in an increase of more than $1.2b in 2020 (versus 2019). According to the report, more than 2.17 million people (53% of the population) shopped online, of which 305,000 were new online shoppers. Interestingly, the strongest growth came from “the over-60 age group, with a 30% rise in spending”.
The trend toward online shopping is expected to continue growing. Currently, in New Zealand, 88% of people between the ages of 16-64 years have recently searched for a product or service to buy online. The share of online shoppers is predicted to "surge to 83% by 2026".
So how can Out-of-Home work with this medium? How can it support such a rapidly growing sector? Industry research has proven that Out-of-Home is "exceptionally well equipped to prime digital advertising and drive customers online in a number of ways". Scott Green, Strategy Director at Posterscope, highlights the 5 different ways Out-of-Home can complement online:
1) Tech, data and digitisation in Out-of-Home (reach): According to Green, and many other industry experts, reach is still the key for driving market share and importantly, building brands. Out-of-Home is an efficient channel to drive reach, "nudging consumers into the buying funnel where digital plays an important role". Developments in data and technology have improved the Out-of-Home planning process, optimising site selection based on consumer movements and behaviours to effectively target different audience segments.
2) Out-of-Home drives consumers online: According to the Rapport/ IPA study 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants' there is a direct connection between Out-of-Home and the performance of digital channels, with Out-of-Home "amplifying the effectiveness of search and social". Nielsen also found that "Out-of-Home campaigns boost online search and social media activity more than other traditional media, which is why big tech and digital companies spend significantly in Out-of-Home."
3) Out-of-Home is best placed to prime digital channels: Digital companies have consistently relied upon Out-of-Home to broaden appeal and drive new behaviours. Being situated in real-world locations is also important for brand building as people continue to migrate online. Shop Direct, UK’s largest digital retailer, repeatedly invest in Out-of-Home as “it gives them a shop window on the High Street.”
4) Out-of-Home amplifies Social and Mobile: In an increasingly digitised world, saturated with personal devices and online advertising, Out-of-Home can intercept consumers and cut-through the noise. As stated by Scott Green, "Out-of-Home has always been a powerful creative experience. It can be bold, provocative, surprising, or delightful, driving consumers online to share experiences or show support, to obtain information, products, or services right there and then, in that very moment". Out-of-Home has the ability to draw attention in the 'real-world', encouraging consumers to seek out relevant brands on mobile.
5) Out-of-Home is at the heart of the change to mobility: Out-of-Home and mobile have a natural synergy, with both steeped in location. But unlike other forms of media, Out-of-Home can’t be skipped, and is incredibly hard to ignore. It can affect real behavioral change in ways that other media cannot. Examples of how mobile can interplay with outdoor include the surge of interactive QR codes, augmented reality, as well as mobile audience tracking after encountering panels.