Over the space of a decade, a huge proportion of South African population has moved to urban areas. This not only has a massive impact on the government with the demand for increased services, it also opens up myriad opportunities for out of home advertising. For those OOH players who have not yet taken the taxi, it may very soon leave them behind.
According to SAIRR/ World Bank two-thirds of South Africa’s population now lives in urban areas with that proportion having increased from 52% in 1990 to 62% in 2011. Higher economic growth, employment and access to services has made moving to urban areas very attractive. The most rapid growth has taken place in South Africa’s smaller cities, mostly due to small initial populations and increasing economic activity due to better employment opportunities.
This has had a massive impact on commuting with a total of 21,6 million people commuting on public transport every week. Of these, 18 million use taxis. The typical time spent travelling to work is 56 minutes. In fact, South Africa has the longest average commuting time out of all the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries.
In South Africa nearly three quarters of households can reach a taxi service within one kilometre of their home. This is one of the reasons that taxis dominate the transport market with approximately 150,000 public taxis on the road. 65% of public transport users travel by taxi weekly, versus buses 20% and trains 15%.
In order to transport 18 million people per week, taxi ranks are situated in all major metropolitan areas. The highest number of commuters is in Gauteng as, although it is geographically the smallest area, it is also the economic hub of the country. KwaZulu-Natal offers the second highest number of commuters, followed by Eastern Cape and Limpopo. Most taxi commuters fall into the LSM4 – 6 bracket and 81% of them are household decision makers. This makes them a highly desirable audience for advertisers.
Taxis work hard and operate 12 hours every week day. Nothing penetrates both Urban and Rural communities and touches the lives of South Africans on a daily basis like taxis. They offer convenience and mobility and form part of most South African’s lives from Cradle to Grave!
Taxi ranks are literally the nerve-centers of communities and all activity will normally start and finish there. Taxi Ranks are where people meet, shop, eat and wait in queues. Taxi ranks are formalising at a rapid pace and we can classify these environments as follows – Informal Ranks, Smaller / Regional Formalised Ranks and Major / Formalised Transit Nodes.
The future of the taxi industry
The Taxi industry will remain the dominant commuter mode for the foreseeable future. Urbanisation and urban influx will persist and the taxi industry will continue to capitalise on this trend and ensure that communities are very mobile. It is therefore important for brands to understand the transition from informal rank environments to formalisation as brand communication at the large formalised taxi nodes is now a necessity.
Why then is advertising in the taxi environment so desirable?
- Taxis offer a captive environment where brands have the attention of commuters for an average of 59 minutes per day.
- With exterior taxi banding, advertisers literally own the road.
- Interior taxi media allows brands to own the interior of the taxi and own the journey. Interior taxi media includes Transit.TV, interior branding and commuter classrooms. Transit.TV is a state-of-the-art, national, digital television network present at taxi ranks, in taxis and at PRASA train stations. Transit.TV reaches millions of commuters daily.
- Taxi Ranks offer the perfect environment for face-to-face activations which allow direct interaction between a brand/product/service and the target audience.
- With the rapid formalisation of taxi ranks, brands have more opportunity for exposure to this very desirable consumer audience.
- Taxi Ranks offer a high footfall environment with the top ten ranks servicing on average between 200 000 and 500 000 consumers daily.
- The majority of taxi commuters are economically active and household purchase decision makers.
- The environment is target market specific with cost effective reach and frequency. Consumers can be targeted geographically ensuring optimum ROI.
- Effective and accurate reporting with TransitTrack. With the ever increasing need for accurate and independent research measuring the efficacy of OOH mediums, Provantage has partnered with Millward Brown and launched a transit research survey – TransitTrack. This study is a quarterly commuter survey that will provide efficacy data for advertisers on Transit.TV as well as other key insights and data relevant to the commuter base.
Jacques du Preez is MD of Provantage