The consumer shift to local with Coca-Cola, Sanitarium and LG

Doesn’t it feel like gone are the days we were waking-up at the crack of dawn to rush out the door for an 8am start at the Office? COVID-19 has brought an array of change in how Australians commute, work, shop and play. White Collar Professionals in particular are experiencing heightened flexibility in work; be it from home, the office or a blend of both, as well as the different office hours more tailored to personal requirements – if that means skipping peak hour and making a B-line for the office at 10am instead of 8! COVID-19 has changed patterns of what was once considered “the typical day”.

While we’re all still adapting to the new normal in a COVID-19 world, it’s important to understand audiences, how they’re moving about our cities and where you can reach them to drive impact and cut-through for your brand. This is increasingly important as we look at current changes in behaviour and see-out the rest of 2020!

On the road to work

With much of the nation undertaking the daily commute to and from their place of employment albeit in some cases at differing times of the day, workplace visitation is tracking at 79% of pre Covid-19 levels across Australia1. And as Australians continue to balance work and home life regardless of their work-location preference, one thing stands, the way we now commute has changed!

With heighted flexibility in how we work, this signals a change in the future peak-hour curve as Australians look to commute outside of traditional peak times, suiting social distancing requirements on public transport and making way on the roads for those opting to drive into office locations. In fact, oOh!’s Pulse research confirms 2 in 5 Australians plan to commute during non-peak periods to avoid crowds once all social distancing restrictions have been removed5.

Enjoying more time around our local communities

Interestingly we’re also spending more time around our local communities with 70% of metro Australians shopping for retail and grocery products in their local suburbs at or above pre- COVID-19 levels. Additionally 68% of metro Australians are also exercising and visiting parks and/ or beaches in their local areas at or above pre- COVID-19 levels.2

This is also supported by Quantium retail purchasing data which reports spend within postcode of residence up 12% YoY and 6% higher compared for surrounding postcodes compared to same time last year6.

Speaking to Sanitarium’s Head of Marketing ANZ, Sharon Green comments that “People are definitely living local and patronage of independent Grocery trade and retailers with local stores amongst communities reflects this. In a behavioural sense, we are seeing less top up shops with the return of the more considered, larger grocery shop.”

This further demonstrates that regardless of work-location preference the suburbs are the one-constant throughout the day and the place for brands to be.

Marketing’s agile approach to reach audiences

With the change in audience behaviour, comes a change in how we talk to consumers and where we meet them on their journeys. Linda Louskos, Marketing Manager of LG Electronics shares that “Our activity is now scaled into local area marketing and digital. This reflects people’s willingness to invest in home and lifestyle improvements during Covid.” Quantium data reports the home improvement and garden categories across Australia has seen a significant uplift in sales, with spend per person in the category up 37% compared to pre COVID-193.

Another category to experience significant growth is alcohol with CommBank household credit and debit card spend data reporting an uplift of 12% compared to same time last year4.

Ben Slocombe, Beer and Cider Director at Coca-Cola Amatil shares on the brands consumer purchase behavior that “restricting peoples mobility and socializing occasions doesn’t stop them spending but definitely changes the shape of how and where they spend. In general terms, we are seeing a shift away from CBD to regional areas, from top up shops to stocking up, from small packs to bulk buys, from unplanned to planned. The variance in state performances, channels and customers in a volatile world means that the only thing you can do is be ready to change and adapt!”

Much has changed through COVID-19 and how we move and spend has changed with it. And with oOh! Pulse Research reporting Australians are confident the domestic economy will bounce-back, this is supported by Australians resilience in spending behaviour now and those planned for the future’5. While we navigate the new normal it’s important to keep an eye on changing consumer behaviours and right now, it all starts in the suburbs.

With most of Australia’s metro population living approx. 10kms from the CBD, the local suburbs are where mass audiences are reached through their day to day travels.



  1. Google, Mobility data, 8th September 2020 | ^Pre Covid-19 levels: The median value from the 5 week period Jan 3 – Feb 6, 2020
  2. oOh!media Pulse Report | Timing Wave 4: 24th – 28th July 2020 | Research Panel: Dynata | Australians in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth aged 16+, n=527
  3. Quantium data, week ending August 31st 2020
  4. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Global Economic & Markets Research report “CBA Card Spend- ending 4th September 2020”, published 8th September 2020, author Nic Guesnon
  5. oOh!media Pulse Report | Timing Wave 1: 1st- 4th May, 2020 Wave 2:18th- 19th May, 2020 Wave 3: 1st -3rd June 2020 Wave 4: 24th – 28th July 2020| Research Panel: Dynata| Australians aged 16+, n=3,726
  6. Source: Quantium – Banking transaction data for week-ending 17-Aug