The universal figure published is that 60% of the global population will live in urban areas by 2030.
This phenomenal growth prediction holds true for South African metropolitan areas, and across Africa. We see the changes and growth to our infrastructure evolving at a rapid pace, and with it our consumption and living habits that familiarise and change to suit this new trend.
New shopping centres and lifestyle hubs are being built, roads are upgraded to accommodate the increased density of urban living, and consumers continue to multiply and support these centres. The consumer treadmill gains in momentum and, even during the economic downturn that we’re experiencing, keeps on turning.
Access to new technologies, the development of infrastructure and the increase in number of vehicles on roads are all positive by-products of this trend that benefit the out of home industry. New markets are created, shopping hubs are developed and consumerism on durable goods like homes and furniture, and discretionary purchases like clothes and electronics all accelerate.
The consumption of food and beverages follows suit and the dynamics of the economy in these areas changes to match the geo-demographical profile of these new markets. The increase in density of houses and dwelling areas creates traffic congestion and an increase in time spent by consumers out of home and on the move.
All this growth and mobility is a positive for brands, yet savvy marketers need to adapt their products, and the distribution thereof, to accommodate the resultant negative impacts that urbanisation produces. Poverty, the decline in the concept of the family, higher unemployment and fertility rates, and the increased need for social, environmental and economic development are the unfortunate consequences of urbanisation.
Coupled with our economically challenged environment marketers now have the opportunity to modify and diversify their products to be more relevant and economically viable and valuable to their consumers. The geo- and psychographic targeting benefits that out of home provides are a natural conduit to facilitate the new conversation that marketers have with their consumers.
Out of home advertising has the ability to reach and influence all economic sectors of the market, in the right place and right time. The increases in population and constant changes in the dynamics of environments, increased fragmentation of TV, radio and even print, suggest that the oldest form of advertising, the ‘billboard poster’, whether static or digital, is still the most cost-effective and impactful medium to reach the mass or the new niche markets.
Lyn Jones is regional manager of out of home company, In Touch Media