Which markets are seeing near pre-pandemic movement patterns?

COMMB tracked movement around OOH locations between Q1 and Q2, with most provinces edging closer to 2019 numbers as Canadians ease back into some sese of normalcy.

The country is slowly, but steadily, easing back to normal traffic patterns, with the Canadian Out-of-Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau (COMMB) reporting increases (for the most part) in movement surrounding outdoor advertising locations in several provinces.

The bureau’s COVID Insights Report that reviews June 2021 and the overall Q2 movement patterns, showing the¬†progress of the COVID recovery and incorporating elements from its new measurement methodology, including Opportunity To See (OTS). The data provides a pre-COVID benchmark by comparing April to June 2021 to the same time period in 2019.

Western and Central Canada showed great improvement between Q1 and Q2 2021. In particular, Calgary gained +8 points between May and June 2021, moving from 81% of pre-pandemic activity to 89% in June, and added 12 points from 73% to 85% between Q1 and Q2 overall. Edmonton saw an increase of +4 points between May and June, moving from 91% percent of pre-pandemic movement to 95% and +13 points from 80% to 93% between Q1 and Q2 overall – possibly because of Alberta’s aggressive reopening timelines.

However, Vancouver saw a slight drawback in June and overall Q2 movements, compared to May and Q1. In June, movement surrounding outdoor locations within the Vancouver market saw a -5 point decrease from May, moving from 74% of pre-pandemic patterns down to 69%. Meanwhile, Q2 experienced a slight -1 point decrease as compared to Q1 from 74% to 73% of pre-pandemic movement. The decline is likely because of a lack of summer travel to and within the market this year.

Winnipeg had a slight decrease of -1 point, moving from 92% of pre-pandemic movement to 91%; however, the market’s Q2 results jumped by +5 points from Q1, moving from 91% of normal movement to 96%.

In Eastern Canada, Ontario experienced various levels of rolling lockdowns in major urban centres throughout the entire province.

Ottawa continued its strong recovery into June, seeing a market index edge up +4 points from 74% in May to 78%. Hamilton saw a pullback from 100% of pre-pandemic numbers to 95%. The latter market has experienced strong recovery, with over 73% of its residents with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine administered, which correlates with consumer comfort in moving around and re-entering social circles.

Toronto held relatively strong in June compared to May 2021, with only a -1 point decline to 63% of 2019 pre-pandemic movement. Following the Stage 3 re-opening that went into effect July 16, the city has gained momentum as seen with the Stage 1 re-opening on June 11 and Stage 2 on June 30, with increases in pedestrian and vehicular traffic starting in mid-June.

The Quebec region is seeing the fruits of their aggressive reopening timelines – Stage 1 on May 28, Stage 2 on June 11, and Stage 3 on June 25 – with both Montreal and Quebec City having seen stable indexing from May to June 2021. Quebec City held strong month over month numbers, remaining at 93% of pre-pandemic movement. Q2 2021 vs. Q1 2021 grew an impressive +14 points to 86% of baseline, showing a large increase over Q1 2021, with June contributing substantially to this number.