Despite the ongoing pandemic, Americans are ready to get out and about, a welcome light at the end of the tunnel for out-of-home (OOH) advertisers. “OOH Consumer Insights and Intent – Q1 2022,” a new report from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and The Harris Poll, reveals people’s sentiment toward summer travel, commuting, different modes of transportation, seasonal shopping and more.
Whether consumers are on the road, on public transit or flying, all modes of transportation will be seeing an uptick and OOH advertising will be an excellent way to gain mindshare and drive action, said John Gerzema, chief executive officer of The Harris Poll.
First up, 85 percent of Americans are planning summer travel with personal cars as their top pick for transportation. After cars, their preferred methods are by airplane, train, bus and subway—in that order.
Roughly half of Americans and baby boomers intend on taking more vacation time this summer than they did last summer, specifically two weeks or more.
International travel is still at the bottom of the list with 49 percent reporting it not at all likely. Traveling to a different city and vacationing at a resort, beach or elsewhere are very likely for 40 percent and 30 percent of respondents, respectively.
Younger generations plan on staying local while suburbanites intend on traveling the farthest. Most will be staying at a hotel while very few intend on staying in a cabin or taking a cruise.
Assuming there are no local public health restrictions, 42 percent of respondents report being very likely to visit a beach or lake while 25 percent report being very likely to visit a national or state park. Trade shows, live theater performances and sporting events were the least popular choices.
When asked how many days they plan to vacation this summer, most respondents chose one week, though more baby boomers than the other generations chose to take more than two weeks off.
Americans are more comfortable now with all modes of transportation including commercial flights, trains, rideshares, taxis and the subway than they were in May 2020 and April 2021.
Most, especially millennials and individuals living in urban ecosystems, are generally comfortable traveling via any mode of transportation, even with the pandemic underway. Sixty-nine percent feel safe flying, 62 percent feel safe using rideshare services and 61 percent feel safe riding in taxis.
Among the 42 percent of respondents who find advertisements useful when deciding which product to purchase for an upcoming holiday or event like Mother’s Day or a wedding, about half were men, slightly more than half lived in cities with 1 million or more residents and slightly less than half were millennials.
The Harris Poll did a deep dive on the topic by asking consumers about OOH advertisements (i.e., billboard, outdoor video screen, poster, signage) for different events and holidays including Mother’s and Father’s Day, weddings and graduations.
On Mother’s Day, 39 percent responded being very much or somewhat influenced by ads while 43 percent responded being not at all influenced. On Father’s Day, 33 percent responded being very much or somewhat influenced by ads while 48 percent responded being not at all influenced. About half of all respondents reported their wedding and graduation gift purchase decisions as being not at all influenced by OOH advertisements.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift decisions centered around flowers and gift cards for mothers and gift cards and tools for fathers. Mothers were least likely to be gifted home furnishings, exercise equipment and special event tickets. Fathers were least likely to be gifted special event tickets, jewelry and exercise equipment.
As for wedding and graduation gifts, slightly less than one-third of respondents named gift cards as their top choice with home electronics being particularly unpopular for both occasions.
The report found 80 percent of workers anticipate commuting to and working from the office by spring 2022, up from 71 percent who anticipated the same in winter 2021.
Respondents were asked about their 2021 and 2022 work situations divided by season. In winter 2021, 45 percent commuted daily, 26 percent commuted to work and worked from home and 28 percent worked from home daily.
In fall 2021, more Americans commuted daily (60 percent) while the portion that worked from home remained about the same. In spring 2022, more Americans commuted daily (63 percent) as the portion with mixed schedules increased to 17 percent and those that worked from home fell to 20 percent. Summer 2022 anticipates more workers commuting (64 percent) and balancing between commuting and working from home (20 percent).
This spring, 76 percent of suburban, 91 percent of rural, 78 percent of urban 1 million+ and 84 percent of urban (<1 million) workers expect to commute part of the time. Each of these cohorts—except those living in an urban environment with 1 million residents or more—anticipates increasing the amount of time they spend commuting part of the time in summer 2022.
In spring 2022, 84 percent of Gen Z, 81 percent of millennials, 79 percent of Gen X and 78 percent of baby boomer workers expect to commute part of the time. Each of these cohorts besides Gen Z anticipates increasing the amount of time they spend commuting part of the time come summer.
Gen Z, millennials and individuals living in cities with 1 million or more residents noticed OOH advertisements at the highest rates compared to pre-pandemic levels. The survey shows that 43 percent of all respondents noticed more OOH while 46 percent did not—almost identical to January 2021 figures.
The Harris Poll inquired about annoyances, personal security and other concerns and found that 78 percent of respondents are strongly or somewhat annoyed by interrupting ads while viewing, listening or reading.
While shopping online, 72 percent reported being concerned about their personal security and data. That figure drops to 67 percent when respondents are on mobile or desktop devices for any purpose.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents actually ignore digital ads because of how much time they spend looking at screens. And at this stage of the pandemic, less than half of respondents are making attempts to spend less time looking at screens (phone, computer and TV).
Automotive OOH Ads
Slightly less than half of the respondents reported not recently seeing an OOH advertisement for an automotive brand or dealership. Of the 38 percent who did recall seeing one, most lived in a city with 1 million or more residents, 40 percent lived in rural areas, 38 percent lived in cities with less than 1 million residents and 33 percent lived in the suburbs.
Additionally, 50 percent were Gen Z, 49 percent were millennials, 40 percent were Gen X and 24 percent were baby boomers or older. Men (49 percent) were more able to recall a recent automotive OOH ad than were women (29 percent).
Digging deeper, the survey showed that the most interesting types of messages on automotive OOH ads were a new model release (45 percent), fuel economy (37 percent) and limited-time offers on pricing (36 percent). Leasing information was the least interesting type of message as noted by consumers.
Forty-three percent of respondents engaged with an automotive OOH ad, whether that was by visiting the brand’s or dealer’s website or conducting research online (38 percent), discussing information with family or friends (30 percent) or visiting a showroom (23 percent). Only 19 percent of respondents engaged with an automotive OOH ad by purchasing a vehicle while 17 percent leased.
This report’s findings are based on a Harris Poll survey conducted online from February 9 to 14, 2022 among 1,000 US adults 18 and over.