With many reports in the media regarding the state of inflation, consumer spending and the retail sector we thought it was time to look at what our data sources can tell us in terms of retail advertising activity and consumer sentiment.
Shopping online vs shopping in-store
Shopping habits inevitably shifted online when the Covid-19 pandemic began and there seems to be an assumption that everyone is shopping online now. The Numeris RTS survey asks respondents whether they prefer shopping online or in-store. The data shows that while Canadian’s preference to shop online is increasing, overall, they do still prefer to shop in-store.
According to the latest RTS survey, 34% of Canadians have visited a shopping mall in the past month; up from 26% in Fall 2021. Ontario saw the biggest increase in response to this question with 29% of respondents saying they’d visited the mall compared to only 16% the year before.
Retail advertising on TV
Overall, when looking at retail advertising on TV in Toronto, our CMR data shows that weights in terms of A25-54 PgmGRPs are less this year (data from Aug 29 – Nov 27, 2022). Key categories such as home furnishings, home hardware, clothing and food stores are all advertising at a lighter weight than last year. However, the largest retail category of furniture stores is 11% heavier than last year (in terms of A25-54 Program min GRPs) and pet stores are advertising more than the previous 3 years (up 57% year-on-year).
Black Friday radio advertising
Following a busy back-to-school advertising period, there was a feeling that Black Friday was less frantic this year than in previous years. Maybe because retailers have extended this event with their sales and promotions starting much earlier rather than being concentrated on one day.
However, radio retail advertising was heavier in Toronto this year in the run-up to Black Friday than in previous years (and even slightly heavier than pre-pandemic 2019).
The following chart shows the total number of Black Friday radio retail spots in Toronto from Oct 24 – Nov 27, 2022, compared to the same period in previous years.
However, when we look at all Black Friday radio activity this year there is a notable absence in the automotive category. In 2019 this made up 29% of all Black Friday radio spots in Toronto whereas this year no spots were detected by Radtracker, our radio commercial activity tool.
How has Black Friday advertising shifted by category over the past four years?
Retail advertising over the holiday season
Retail advertising for the holiday season has a slightly different story to tell on TV and radio.
Overall TV retail advertising (Adult 25-54 Program GRPs) for December in Toronto is level with 2021 and 23% lower than 2019. There are fluctuations between the various categories. Furniture store advertising is strong, up 51% vs 2021 and up 21% vs 2019. Another category that stands out this year is Pet store advertising. This has more than doubled compared to last December and is 87% higher than in 2019. Consumer Electronics stores are still the second largest category advertising on TV during December and is slightly higher than last year (10%) yet has still to reach the same pre-pandemic levels of 2019 (down 35% vs 2019)
Radio retail advertising in Toronto in the four weeks running up to December 25th however was much higher than last year (up 30%) and also 21% higher than in 2019. The categories that are showing a significant increase are grocery stores, jewelry stores, mattress stores and audio/video stores. Although quick-serve restaurant advertising has decreased by 33% vs last December this has been more than compensated for by the increase in advertising for other types of restaurants such as casual dining, pubs and bars.
Top 10 radio retail advertising categories for 2022 compared to previous years