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Transit environments are evolving, so are shopping habits

Jean Coetzee of Provantage Out of Home Media shares insights on how the transit environment is evolving, how this is changing the way commuters consume advertising and why this is affecting purchasing behaviours.
Transit environments are evolving, so are shopping habits
The public transport environment is changing at a rapid pace. Transit infrastructure is evolving in line with urbanisation and the growing demand for better, more efficient public transport and this is having a direct effect on how consumers get from A to B. It is affecting the time they spend out of home and interestingly, it is changing the way consumers shop. The interesting fact about change is that it makes us reconsider and redefine advertising and marketing strategies.

Provantage Out of Home Media recently conducted a survey through MillwardBrown in the transit space. The results made us sit up and seriously consider the commuter's wants, needs, desires and the ease with which this consumer assimilates advertising.

Commuter insights

The most noteworthy insights showed that:
  • Most commuters now shop closer, up to 5 minutes' walk, from a taxi rank or train station
  • 66% of commuters buy on impulse
  • Consumers are shopping more frequently and are using smaller basket sizes
Commuters want convenience and the purchasing process must be an easy one. The changing buying behaviour provides an increased opportunity to strategically position brands, services and products in the various touch points along the commuter journey.

The commuter journey

Commuters spend on average 23 minutes at a taxi rank - a significantly large chunk of time in a captive environment. During these high dwell times there are unmatched media and engagement opportunities. Brands can implement activations, crowd-sourcing and sampling campaigns and can share their message by branding taxis, train couches and buses as well as flighting commercials on TRANSIT.TV™.

Transit nodes

Transit nodes are becoming a hive of activity with formal retail areas and fast food courts. Buses, trains and taxis come together at these transit nodes and as a result increase daily, weekly and monthly foot traffic.

The merging of consumer segments

We are witnessing another significant shift in the commuter landscape: the changes in the transit environment have brought opportunities for the merging of target audiences. Using Park Station in Johannesburg as an example, there is an opportunity to engage with a middle income consumer as well as an upper income consumer (using the Gautrain).

The imminent future

The transit environment is set to grow even further in the next few years. Out of home in this space - where consumers are not fragmented and have similar needs and interests, and where there are long dwell times in captive environments - is the answer to effective, relevant marketing. The kind of marketing that has a direct influence on a consumer's shopping habits and purchasing decisions.

Provantage Out of Home Media provides brands the opportunity to be present throughout the commuter journey. Call Jean Coetzee for more info on 0861 776 826 or email him on az.oc.egatnavorp@naej follow us @ProvantageSA or go to

11 Mar 2015 11:25


About the author

Jean Coetzee is General Manager at Provantage Out of Home Media.