Greater Cairo’s billboard advertising market saw a 45 percent decline as of the third week of March amid the COVID-19 crisis, although traffic came close to normal levels in the week before Ramadan, according a study published on Monday by AdMazad.
AdMazad is a data-driven solution provider for out-of-home (OOH) advertising operating in Egypt and specialises in analysing real-life data and outdoor media consumption.
The study also found a 100 percent increase in empty large billboards across Greater Cairo in the first week of April 2020, reflective of the spending sentiment of multinationals and large national companies during the COVID-19-induced stay-at-home regulations.
On the other hand, according the study, the only sector that increased its presence in OOH advertising placements was the healthcare sector, in which the number of billboards increased by 70 percent as a result of heightened spending by pharmacies and insurance companies.
The real estate industry made up only 27 percent of April’s billboard advertising, compared to 43 percent a year before, and utilising 200 fewer billboards, according the study.
Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) advertising fell from 10 percent to just over 4 percent in the same period, while bank advertising decreased from 4.5 percent to 2.1 percent, according the study.
The study noted that despite COVID-19 being the most popular topic at this time, the current advertisements do not focus on COVID-19-related issues.
OOH expenditure also increases during Ramadan; this year driven exclusively by media companies and TV channels, according the study.
In comparison with 2019, the Ramadan 2020 season saw a decline by 30 percent from 201 billboards with one major broadcast network deciding to not use billboards for the first time in five years, according the study.
The study found that the average OOH campaign size of local TV channels declined 20 percent, with the overall number of occupied billboards declining to 120 units.
“With the return of traffic, we should expect a slow and steady recovery of OOH advertising by June 2020. However, it will still be significantly underperforming compared to 2019 levels,” AdMazed founder Assem Memon said.
He added that the real estate sector typically owns 40 percent of the billboard market share; hence, no immediate full recovery should be expected until late into the second or third quarter of 2020.
According to the study, it is expected in the short-term that advertisements will tackle companies’ readiness to embrace the impact on the market and support the “new normal” dictated by the coronavirus.
The study also expected the FMCGs and e-commerce platforms to drive the recovery of the advertising sector, in a bid to direct consumer expenditure to their products and platforms. E-commerce platforms in particular are still adjusting their operations in order to cope with the increased demand.