The Revival of Retail Signals an Opportunity for Brands in OOH

With lockdown restrictions the most relaxed they’ve been since March; we’ve seen a huge revival of audiences returning to “normal” life. We’ve especially seen this with audiences returning to feel-good activities such as eating out with the Government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme and the Summer staycation boom. But as the “normally” busiest period of the year approaches, we’re turning our attention to the revival of retail.

There are many retail opportunities for advertisers approaching, such as Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, as well as Christmas. These opportunities are notorious for creating heavy footfall to retail stores and malls, as consumers hunt for the best ideas and deals in an active mindset and ready to buy. In this context, OOH is perfectly placed to influence the purchasing decisions of consumers no matter what stage they are in the marketing funnel.

During lockdown, our research with OnDevice found that over half of consumers were looking forward to non-essential shopping once stores and malls reopened. This meant that when they did reopen on the 15th June, our data from Ada showed a 27% increase in footfall to shopping malls – highlighting the importance of the retail experience in the return to normality. Within the first 6 weeks of non-essential stores reopening, data from Springboard showed UK footfall in retail environments jump fourfold and JCDecaux also reported an +80% increase in mall footfall.

Revival of Retail: Embracing the Return of Shoppers and Spending

Currently, we’re seeing audiences embracing this return to retail, ready to indulge in some revenge spending. In July, retail sales rebounded by 3.6% from June, surging past pre-coronavirus levels. Meanwhile in London, both of Westfield’s shopping malls each surpassed over 1 million shoppers for the week commencing the 17th August – the highest weekly footfall total since March. Intu malls located around the UK, have also reported footfall levels as high as 92% year on year.

Not only are audiences returning to retail, but they are also spending again. Since the Liverpool ONE mall has begun its phased reopening strategy, they’ve reported an 18% increase in visitor spend with conversion rates +13% higher than it was before lockdown. The jewelry sector is one that has bounced back particularly well, with some retailers reporting conversion rates as high as 80% from store visit to purchase. This is a great example of consumers indulging in revenge spending and treating themselves and loved ones with the money they saved during lockdown. Limited Space are also seeing “Back to School” and Staycations driving other sectors such as toys, children’s clothing and technology.

Looking forward, we’re seeing brands ranging from health & beauty to alcoholic beverages fully embracing this return to normal within shopping environments. A great example of this is Skoda, who promoted their new range of SUVs with an interactive digital OOH experience in malls. Due to the current times, the experience was executed in a safe, touchless manner – showing that there’s a creative solution for different brands who want to return to OOH in the retail space.

With the successful reopening of non-essential shops, we predict that the revival of retail will continue throughout the rest of the quarter and as we head into the busy festive period. We know that consumers are wanting to return to normal and enjoying having little luxuries in their lives again. Getting out and about, spending time with friends and family has never been a higher priority, and retail is a central part of that. Brands of all kinds who step with their best foot forward, will undoubtedly reap the benefits.