The London filter bubble. It’s all encompassing. And when you live in it, you can almost be forgiven for forgetting the rich and diverse spread of British cities beyond it.

The media industry (yep, I’m looking at you) can be especially guilty of it, upweighting ad campaigns to appear exclusively in the capital or ring fencing the most innovative, creative media for London-based audiences alone. But that’s a collective industry mistake. Huge. 87% of Britons live outside of London and that’s a lot of potentially lost awareness and consumer spending.

It’s for this reason we’ve been strategically growing our OOH portfolio of cities, ensuring we have a range of screens in the UK’s top retail destinations. From the affluent cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow all the way down to the creative hubs of Bristol and London on either side of the English coast – we have been busy implementing the latest, cutting edge DOOH screens to drive that all-important engagement and conversion.

The twelfth and newest jewel in the Ocean crown is Southampton, recognised as the commercial, cultural and retail capital of the south coast. And there’s a range of reasons why Southampton is a city of untapped opportunity for advertisers:

An affluent population
With over 254,000 residents, Southampton’s catchment extends to affluent rural areas including Winchester, Andover and edges of Basingstoke and Portsmouth. According to CACI, 56% of Southampton’s core catchment are highly affluent to comfortable, and when compared to its tertiary and quaternary catchments, this rises dramatically, to 88% and 72% respectively.

In fact, when compared against the Ocean city portfolio, Southampton residents have a higher disposable income than most other city dwellers, including Londoners. This all equates to a £1.04 billion total spend available in the core Southampton catchment. That’s a lot of spending power.

Mass regeneration and investment
Southampton City Council is in the middle of an ambitious transformational plan, attracting billions of investment to the city and fueling city growth. Ranked 3rd in in PwC’s 2018 Good Growth for Cities Index, £1.9 billion has been invested in commercial developments to drive business, residential, retail and leisure developments.

As a result Southampton is a city undergoing seriously large-scale regeneration. Already rated 5th in the affluent South East for Retail Footprint centres, major retail hub WestQuay opened in 2018, attracting 18 million visitors. With the launch of the newly redeveloped Bargate Quarter later this year, we can expect to see shopper numbers and spends continue to grow.

The cruise capital of Northern Europe and with an airport that services popular European destinations, Southampton welcomes close to 250,000 tourists annually. According to CACI, tourists spend £75 million on clothing and accessories goods and £31 million on leisure activities when in the city. And these numbers look set to dramatically rise too, with new developments at Southampton port and the potential for an extended runway at the airport.

Update: Recognising Southampton’s brilliant culture, community, arts and heritage achievements the City Council have just announced their intention to bid for the UK’s City of Culture 2025. The national competition is well known for bringing in huge economic benefits, as well as driving up the profile and attractiveness of winning cities.

Hull, which held the coveted mantel in 2017 revealed the title had brought in over £1 billion in investment, thousands of new jobs, increased tourism and drove positive media coverage. Bearing in mind all of the investment in Southampton in the last decade and its strong arts and culture scene, Southampton are surely going to romp home with the win. 

With a remit to develop an integrated digital screen solution within the city centre, set close to high-end retail areas and busy commuter routes, Southampton truly is an untapped city, full of DOOH advertising opportunities for brands wanting to target affluent residents and tourists.