Canada’s OOH marketplace continued its upwards trajectory into fall

The rapid expansion of economic activity and increased mobility fueled the growth of OOH media.

Canada’s OOH marketplace continued to outperform the expected boost during the summer months and into fall as pandemic-related restrictions relaxed across the country, according to the latest issue of the COMMB Insights Report

The report, which compares the calendar month of October to the prior quarter of Q3, found that while some market trajectories levelled out in October, following the return to in-person events and social activities almost all remained on an upward slope, even as cooler weather set in, and patio season came to a close.

“All indicators are green, and we expect more consensus good news in the coming months,” said COMMB president Amanda Dorenberg. Although the outlook was positive based on data from October, that could change as governments consider re-introducing restrictions and capacity limits to curb growing cases of COVID-19 and concerns over the Omicron variant.

Halifax leads the list to exceed the city’s pre-COVID performance. Ontario and British Columbia also experienced decent increases and were expected to make bigger gains in the coming months, which is positive for these areas since the two provinces are the largest international travel hubs. Only Quebec City and Ottawa remained fairly steady although both markets have been recovering steadily since early in the year.

In Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton posted gains of three and seven points respectively in October compared to Q3. Although Alberta was one of the provinces to aggressively reduce restrictions,  the province’s economy is not expected to fully recover until the middle of 2022. Every product group associated with the OOH activity index increased in both markets, with the largest increases in digital OOH (6%) and street furniture (8%) in Calgary and Edmonton, respectively.

In British Columbia, Vancouver experienced smaller gains as many pandemic restrictions remained in place until the final week of October. All OOH media experienced similar gains with street furniture growing 3%, posters gained 6% and digital OOH 3%.

In Atlantic Canada, Halifax continued its strong growth with a 12% gain, a 4% increase over its 2019 baseline. Residents are back at work and unemployment is down to 6%, which is a decrease from last October’s 8%. The area’s economy is being led by an influx of online shopping by transport and warehousing (up 47.7% from November 2019), followed by professional, scientific, and technical employment rising 46.1% since November 2019.

Meanwhile, Ontario showed gains of about seven points across the board for all OOH product groups in both Toronto and Ottawa. That is expected to continue with the province’s real GDP growing 6.7% for 2021 and another increase of 4.1% projected for 2022. Much of that growth will come from consumer spending. Also boding well for OOH and marketing, Ontario tourism jumped in August when the nation reopened to fully vaccinated Americans.

In Quebec, Quebec City entered October at about 90% of its 2019 OOH product group activity so posted moderate growth. Montreal, which progressed nicely through Q3, surged to an index of 85% from a Q3 index of 77%. Street furniture, which was lagging other product categories, led the way with an 11-point gain to 73% on the activity index.