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UK OOH revenues for Q4, 2020 down -46%, says Outsmart report

By M4G Bureau - February 19, 2021

The figures show improvement over Q3 figures and the research, conducted in partnership with PWC, also indicates more improvement, with restrictions lifting and the roll-out of the vaccine program

Outsmart, the trade body for Out of Home (OOH) industry, has released UK’s OOH revenue figures for the period October to December 2020, revealing a decline of -46% year on year, an improvement on Q3 (-50%) and generating total revenues of £204m. Classic and digital OOH revenues declined by -53% and -41% respectively and digital’s share of revenue increased to 63% slightly more than Q3 (61%).

Overall in 2020, OOH revenue declined -46% too, compared to 2019, with total revenues of £699m reported (vs £1.3bn in 2019). Digital declined 40% YoY vs 2019 (£279m decline vs 2019) and classic declined 53% YoY vs 2019 (£323m decline vs 2019).

The figures, collated by PwC, reflect a very challenging period for the advertising industry, with OOH particularly impacted by changing COVID-19 restrictions. Though restrictions continue into Q1 2021, the successful rollout of the vaccination program promises a bright outlook with rapid recovery for the UK economy and consumer confidence. The Advertising Association/WARC have forecast growth of +295.7% for Out of Home in Q2 2021.

The positive outlook is supported by recently released OOH advertising effectiveness research, showing that advertisers who continued to invest in Out of Home benefited from strong performance including an average +51% shift in ad-recall. Comparing these figures to those observed pre-lockdown proved that the effectiveness of OOH campaigns has not diminished, with some outperforming previous levels.

Audience data shows the public have adapted to the current restrictions, with 28 types of businesses allowed to remain open and around 49% of the UK’s working population not working from home (source: ONS / As the COVID-19 outlook improves and with Spring approaching, mobility is likely to continue rising.

Justin Cochrane, Chair of Outsmart, comments, “Both Q3 and Q4 have shown how agile brands, agencies and media owners have had to be to adapt Out of Home campaigns in line with varying restrictions. As we move through 2021, we are looking forward to restrictions lifting and Out of Home returning to strong growth.”

Mark Maitland, Head of Entertainment and Media at PwC, comments, “It is no surprise that a year hit with restrictions on travel and going outdoors has impacted the OOH sector hard. The growing digital share demonstrates how advertisers have benefited from the flexibility brought about by the investments in digital screens over the past few years - this provides an excellent platform for the sector to rebound back to growth.”



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