A surge in confidence to drive the recovery out of Covid

Covid recovery as Scrabble x Instant Scratch Its creative advertising special build on street furniture bus shelter

Last year really shone a light on the things we took for granted. Visiting friends, getting on a plane, even the days we spend in the office. Over a year on from when Covid first hit our shores, it truly feels like we’re on the path to recovery and we’re seeing this reflected in consumer positivity to the year ahead. Across the nation, we are returning to the outdoors, with oOh! Audiences recovering to near-normal levels and delivering over 495 million contacts in a single week alone.1 NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian shared her views with Sky News that we can’t be confined to a life of restrictions as the virus won’t go away for a number of years – and we just need to live with it2.

The Australian market is similarly recovering at pace with NAB Group Economics reporting strength in the economy for both business and the consumer in March. A better-than-expected outcome for GDP, was consistent with the Labour market recovering quicker than expected with unemployment falling to 6.4% in January3. Looking at consumer spend, we spent $30.5 billion on retail sales in January alone, which is almost 11% above the same time last year4. Accompanying this is a notable surge in spending intentions across home buying, entertainment, education and health and fitness5, pointing to strength in recovery and confidence from consumers.

Another key driver for this covid recovery and surge in spending intention is travel. Historically, if you look to 2019 travel trends before we knew the term ‘snap lockdown’ or ‘travel bubble’, Australians would spend 417.9 million nights travelling domestically, while 11.3 million Australians embarked on a short-term overseas trip6.The demand for travel has always been there, so it should come as no surprise that 70% of Australians noted that they are intending to travel within Australia in the next two years7. As workplace flexibility continues to shape the new normal, domestic travel in the shape of the working holiday may also give Australians more of an opportunity to travel across our sunburnt country while setting up remote WFH offices and zoom meetings.

On the other side of the fence, Australians nationally are returning to work at a greater frequency with office and café audiences at the highest contact levels since December 2020 – growing +58% over the past two months, delivering over 73 million contacts nationwide in February alone8. This is a significant indicator that those returning to the CBD are doing so, more often than they have all year.

While the outlook for consumer confidence is positive, six in 10 Australians believe that our behaviours will change after the crisis has ended9. For brands, this means that marketers will be tasked with navigating the post-Covid consumer and the behavioural changes that will (or won’t) return to normal through Covid recovery.

As behaviour continues to be quite reactive to shifting conditions or snap restrictions, understanding consumers based on robust data sources will be crucial to reaching the right consumer in the right time and making advertising dollars work smarter. Locking down loyalty will also prove to be critical, posing the opportunity for brands to make consumer retention a top priority, while also aggressively targeting consumers lost by competitors10.

For more information and refreshed audience insights, visit our Audience Hub and download the latest version of the oOh! Pulse Report.



oOh! Smart Reach, DSpark, Aggregated weekly total volumes, oOh! Road, Retail, Office Café and Study nationally, period week ending 22nd of February 2021 vs. same week last year
Sky News, Australia must not ‘confine itself’ to a life of restrictions: Gladys Berejiklian, 4th March 2021 https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6237095073001
NAB Group Economics. The Forward View Australia – March 2021 https://business.nab.com.au/the-forward-view-australia-march-2021-45218/
Australian Financial Review, Retail trade up, highest January rise since 2015, 19th February 2021 https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/retail-trade-up-again-in-january-highest-since-2015-20210219-p573xq
Commonwealth Bank, Household Spending Intentions Series, January 2021
Budget Direct, Average Holiday Cost Statistics, June 2020
Tourism Australia Travel Sentiment Tracker (latest wave n=1002). Fieldwork wave was conducted 17-22 February 2021.
oOh! Smart Reach, DSpark , Aggregated weekly total volumes, oOh! Office and Cafe locations nationally, period week commencing 22nd of February 2021 vs. 4th January 2021
Kantar, Australians want strong leadership from brands to navigate an Australia beyond COVID, 17th September 2020
Kantar Australia. Top 10 ways the Coronavirus will impact brands and marketing in 2021. https://kantaraustralia.com/top-10-ways-the-coronavirus-will-impact-brands-and-marketing-in-2021/