Time for celebrations: OOH raring to bring in a bumper festive season

Industry players positive that the sector will touch pre-Covid levels; freedom to be outdoors and emergence of new categories like online gaming and D2C brands identified as key growth drivers

by Sonam Saini
Published - August 09, 2022
5 minutes To Read
Time for celebrations: OOH raring to bring in a bumper festive season

This festive season will be a boon for the outdoor advertising industry, assert OOH industry players. The expectation is that the sector can reach pre-Covid levels by the end of the year, achieving double or even triple growth.

This is a welcome change given that last year's festive season was just slightly better for the Out-Of-Home players since the industry was still in the revival stage and could not be restored to pre-Covid levels.

According to Ajay Mehta, Founder and MD, Interactive Television (iTV) and MD, Kinetic India, the growth during the festive period is going to be tremendous. “Last year was very limited while I did say, October to December, that's when the revival started. But if you compare it to pre-Covid, it was still lower. So, I think this festive season is going to be a bumper Diwali or a bumper season for the OOH industry. The industry may even see very high double-digit or even triple-digit growth, depending on the stability of the supply,” shared Mehta.

The Pitch Madison Advertising Report 2022 stated that OOH has bounced back in 2021 with a 69% increase over 2020, but falls way short of the figures achieved pre-Covid in 2019. The report estimated that Rs 2,178 crore was spent in OOH. Although it was still way below the Rs 3,495 crore spent in 2019, it was substantially higher than Rs 1,292 crore spent in 2020.

In fact, the spending in 2021 was at a similar level to that in 2014. In terms of share, from a steady share of 6% that it had enjoyed for many years till 2019, OOH has slipped to 3% but has gained a 1% share over 2020.

Gulab Patil, Founder & CEO of Lemma, points out that this festive season is markedly different from last year in terms of advertising expenditures. “Covid-19 was present last year, but this year appears to be much better than the pre-Covid era. This is an encouraging situation for marketers as things have gone back to normal and consumers are looking forward to the festive shopping and pending purchases.”

He further said that the volume of campaigns and inquiries coming in throughout the festive season was on the rise, which bodes well in general. “We all have one thing in common: how we break through the clutter and connect with the target audiences.”

Stating similar sentiments, Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH, said there are positive sentiments in the markets primarily due to ease in traveling, freedom to go shopping and re-opening of offices since March. “People are free once again to do things that they used to do in their regular lives as well as during the festive season. So everything put together has cast a positive impact on the OOH industry.”

Nanda shared that at Times OOH by this June-end they were at 85% to 90% of pre-Covid levels, whereas traditional business was already close to pre-Covid levels. “This certainly demonstrates that we are headed towards a great festive season.”

According to Patil, the factors that contribute to this growth in ad spending are factors like – technology, audience behaviour and innovation. “Improved technology in DOOH through audience buying and targeting, improved screen quality, and programmatic DOOH bringing in flexibility and contextual advertising is attracting marketers to spend more on the medium, especially during the festive season. Additionally, leveraging audience behaviour pre-festivities, capitalizing on the dwell time outdoors and attracting consumers with offer-based ads is also another fuelling factor.”

Nanda also noted that the biggest driver will be the freedom to be outdoors. “It is driving consumers to spend more - revenge shopping, travel more - revenge travelling, watch more movies and eat out. We are already seeing auto sales beat all records; restaurant, food and grocery sales have beaten pre-Covid levels. These are very positive indicators which are driving brands to be out there to be noticed by the consumers.”

Another likely key growth driver will be the emerging of new categories like E-Vehicles, Online Gaming and D2C brands along with the existing categories that are re-bouncing such as real estate, smartphones and others, Nanda explained. “We estimate that we should be at pre-Covid levels before year-end and November and December will be the key. There are new and existing categories that are likely to create a splash on outdoors during this festive season. Smartphone, Real Estate, Auto, Online Gaming, FMCG, Media & Entertainment are all set to make a comeback.”

Patil also shared that this year, without a doubt, the automotive sector would be bullish in terms of marketing spending. Multiple launches are lined up and some brands are launching festive specific offers for their existing customers, he noted. “FMCG brands are big spenders during the festive season. OTT players are consistent with their spending on OOH throughout the year and will keep the spends at par if not more during the festive phase. The consumer durables and electronics sector is also likely to loosen up the budgets for festive advertising.”

One of the insights in the recently launched e4m-GroupM report on the OOH sector was that there were noticeable differences in the use of OOH from pre-Covid times. At a broad level, advertisers currently focus more on technology-led innovations and data-driven approaches. While Metros are more adaptive to changes and enjoy a larger share of revenues, tier I and tier II markets continue to grow at a faster rate, the report said. Real Estate & Builders, Consumer Services, Retail, BFSI and Media were among the top five categories, as per the report.