Australians wave goodbye to weekday commutes as local, shorter trips rise

Australians have a new way of travelling post Covid-19. As people travel more locally, for shorter periods of time and more frequently throughout the day, the Monday to Friday commute is no longer the standard reality, according to an oOh Media study.

The study, How Aussies Move, was conducted by the out-of-home (OOH) company in partnership with Pollinate to understand how Australians are accessing public spaces post-pandemic.

The majority (93%) of respondents said that they have more free time now compared to 2019 due to flexible work and study arrangements. Consequently, 42% suggested their routines have become more varied.

59% of respondents said that they spend more time around their local area than they have in the past.

‘Work’ was no longer the main event in these new mindsets of respondents. However, they still “enjoyed office-based work” for the sense of “joy and community” it brings.

When it comes to retail centre visits, the shopping habits of respondents were driven by utility rather than leisure and/or entertainment. The retail experience was the main reason why shoppers still went into stores, but the proximity (54%) and convenience (47%) of the retail locations also played an important role in shoppers’ decisions.

Bricks and mortar are still winning out post-Covid, with 51% of respondents preferring to shop in-store and a further 41% claiming that they like to take their time while doing it.

The Australian OOH industry hit $1 billion in revenue for 2022, according to the Outdoor Media Association figures.

Chief content, marketing and creative officer at oOh Media, Neil Ackland, said: “We’ve shifted into a mindset of valuing experiences over possessions and needs over wants.

“The report shows we have an appreciation for quality of life, we are enjoying being out and connecting with others. And while we have concerns, mostly relating to finances we’re trying to live positively.

“Our new mindset is motivating us to make plans again, with the study finding two in three Australians have plans to travel for leisure in the next six months, with almost half citing they will travel within their own state and, a third interstate. This shows a strong desire to stay local and discover our own backyard.”

Methodology: The study engaged experts in consumer psychology, human geography, the future of work and infrastructure planning, conducted in-depth interviews with commuters and travellers and carried out a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Australians to understand the changes in audience behaviour and brand impacts.

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