Outdoor advertising and mobility: the duo of the future.

Mobility is one of the current mega trends. As society becomes increasingly mobile, digital and analogue poster advertising is increasingly prevalent, because it is right there wherever people are: on streets and squares, on public transport, in stations and airports, in the mountains and at points of sale. The continual rise in mobility is also increasing the reach of out of home media in absolute terms. Consumption of TV, print, radio and cinema may be continually declining – despite the growth in population – but outdoor advertising is one of the winners of demographic change. Out of home media and mobility: the perfect match.

Mobility despite COVID-19: drawing on current data sources, discussions with experts and his own observations, Christof Hotz is looking to the future with hope. In an interview conducted while on the move, the Head of Media Research at APG|SGA shares his assumption that sustained easing in Switzerland will quickly lead to a complete recovery in mobility outside the home.


Christof Hotz, how do you use public transport and what have you noticed lately?
Since the order to work from home was lifted, public life is gradually returning to normal. At rush hour the seats are pretty full and you see familiar faces. I regularly commute to central Zurich by PostBus and S-Bahn. Before that, like everyone else, I stayed at home or used my bike to go shopping. To get out into nature on my days off, I often take the train to the mountains.


People are social creatures; they like getting out of the house and staying on the move. Even coronavirus couldn’t stop that. Did that surprise you?
It was clear that the Federal Council’s measures drastically restricted mobility radii in Switzerland and led to movements in smaller radii, as various long-term mobility studies have proven. So after the easing last summer, I was surprised at how quickly mobility returned to almost normal levels. On top of that, travel restrictions meant people discovered Switzerland as a holiday destination, and confined living conditions led to an increase in leisure mobility.


How has mobility changed since January 2021?
There is a clear picture of recovery here. After the slump in mobility during the lockdown in spring and the rapid increase of summer 2020, which I mentioned earlier, the fluctuations are less pronounced this year. And the development is more stable. In addition to the dashboards from Apple and Google, the intervista mobility monitor, which is regarded as the gold standard for mobility measurement in the industry, also helps us with monitoring. Since the beginning of the year, we have seen a steady increase in the frequency of commuter and shopping mobility. Falling coronavirus numbers, increasing vaccination and the reopening of restaurants and leisure facilities are providing additional stimulation. The daily distances for leisure mobility have increased noticeably since the beginning of the year. This may be the result of a certain shift within out-of-home mobility by purpose of travel.


And what’s next – how many people will be going to stations and stops in the future to use trains, buses and trams?
(Laughs) We don’t use the crystal ball that much. I would prefer to reference the rolling survey of the Swiss population and its greatest concerns (see GfK, April 2020, seventh survey round). This shows that there is a great desire to catch up, to have a public life again, to go on holiday, to consume and to experience things. It helps that we have a very well-developed public transport network in Switzerland. Although frequencies are still currently below normal levels, I expect to see rapid development here as well. Increasing traffic jams and congested cities in rush hour will lead to greater use of public transport.


Talking of traffic jams, what happens to the weekday traffic peaks on the street?
Many companies are letting employees find a new work balance between home and the office. As a result, we are seeing a rapid increase in private motorised traffic. Mostly this is from commuters who do not work from home, or only partially, as well as private trips and business supply trips.


Let’s take a brief detour into international travel mobility. What is the situation at the major Swiss airports?
At the moment, travel mobility at Swiss airports is practically at a standstill. However, the industry is confident and working on the assumption that international tourism to and from Switzerland will soon recover. So Swiss is flying to around 50 additional destinations this summer. And Swiss CEO Dieter Vranckx set the bar even higher in a recent interview when he expressed the belief that this summer will see ‘50% of the capacity of 2019’ – so almost a cold start for the aviation and tourism industry. According to reports, short-haul destinations in Europe are particularly popular. And for this summer, last-minute booking options should be available for the Mediterranean islands.


Where will you be spending your summer holiday?
I’m looking forward to a relaxing holiday with my family by the sea. We got the last seats on the heavily booked night train to Zagreb.


Christof Hotz, many thanks for your thoughts – and bon voyage!



Population growth in Switzerland


Sources: Population growth = BFS, OOH demand trend = Media Focus, Overall market trend = Werbestatistik.


The audience for outdoor advertising is growing every year


Change since previous year

Inhabitants: +0,7%
Employed: +0,3%
Employment rate: +0,4%
Car ownership: +1%



9 out of 10 people see poster advertising


In Switzerland, 9 out of 10 people are on the move every day. This high rate of mobility hugely increases the recurrent awareness of outdoor advertising. Digital and analogue posters guarantee wide reach and repeated contact on journeys for:

• work



Source: BFS, ARE − Mobility and Transport Microcensus (MTMC)