The mobility trends in Austria

The peak of the Coronavirus crisis has already been passed and the country is observably flourishing again. Lock-down restrictions have been relaxed. Stores and shops were allowed to open again at the beginning of May and the catering trade was also allowed to resume operations as of mid-May. The mobility of Austrians is constantly increasing. People are on the move again more often and the retail sector is breathing a sigh of relief.

How has mobility developed in recent weeks?

Since the beginning of April, there has been an increase in mobility throughout Austria. While on April 6th, 2020, there was still a mobility reduction of 29% compared to mid-January 2020, on April 17th, 2020, only 21% of people were at home or within a radius of one kilometer of their place of residence. One month later, on May 6th, 2020, the mobility reduction is currently around 16%. On the basis of this data, it can be concluded that Austria is once again increasingly on the move. It can also be assumed that the opening of schools and the reduction of working-from-home will lead to a further boost in mobility. A minus of only 5 to 10% is expected by the end of May. The number one means of transport at this time is the passenger car.

Comparing current data to the previous week, a steady increase in private transport can be observed. Every day, there are more cars on the roads. It can be assumed that over the next few weeks there will continue to be an increase in mobility and that things will soon return to normal. In addition to the steady upward trend in private transport, there is an observable increase in the use of public transportation. Starting next Monday, May 11th, 2020, Wiener Linien will return to normal operation in order to be able to safely carry the increasing number of passengers. It is also expected that by the beginning of June, at the latest, the number of Wiener Linien passengers will be back to normal.

The increasing mobility of the Austrian population can be measured by traffic data, as well as by tallying the number of visits to various places. Food retailing, for example, is now only about 17% below the normal level compared to the data for January 2020. Furthermore, there has recently been a strong increase in the use of leisure facilities. This will continue with the opening of restaurants, shopping centers and sports facilities. Mobility to and from jobs has so far stagnated at around minus 50%. This will change with the gradual end of working-from-home in the coming weeks. In sum, the Austrian population is taking advantage of the relaxation of measures and is becoming increasingly active out of home.

How will things continue?

People long for the reconquest of public spaces. With every relaxation, people become more mobile and use available opportunities to organize their leisure time. Consumer demand and purchases are also increasing after the period of restrictions. As we have seen in recent weeks, each step has led to a veritable rush to DIY stores, fast food restaurants, furniture stores and even hairdressers. A high proportion of consumers crave for a return to the shopping experience on shopping streets and in shopping centers and want to make up for postponed purchases as quickly as possible.

What does this mean for advertising in the Out of Home?

Current research results demonstrate lower losses in Out of Home impact and recognition than had been suspected due to the mobility situation of the last weeks. Why lower? The most likely reason is that many people have gone for walks more often and have simply become more aware of their surroundings, including Out of Home. With less traffic, less crowding and fewer distractions, Out of Home advertising was more visually prominent, presumably with greater impact. With the increase in mobility, people are exposed to a higher number of advertising media in public spaces, which means that more Out of Home advertising is seen. It can be assumed that the result will be a more conscious perception and retention of advertising messages. In the case of the Rolling Boards and City Lights, we expect to be able to reach nearly the same contact values of the pre-crisis period by the end of May. Contacts are also increasing steadily in the transport sector. Mobility is currently at approximately the same level as before the crisis, especially in rural areas, which additionally benefits national campaigns.

BleibDaheim - A1/Invenium, status May 06th, 2020
Traffic in Vienna - TOMTOM, status May 05th, 2020
Use of public transport - Servus TV, status May 04th, 2020
Apple Mobility Trends  - Apple, Status May 04th, 2020
Google Mobility Report - Google, status April 30th, 2020
Shopping in the crisis - Gallup Institute, April 2020
After the Corona Crisis - IP Austria, April 2020