2023 Economic Outlook                           

By: Melinda Venella, Chief Financial Officer/Controller

The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia held its annual Economic Outlook event in mid-January. 

For over 20 years, hundreds of executives across a wide variety of business sectors gather to learn about the upcoming economic trends that will affect our regional business community. The program’s three-part agenda features results from the Federal Reserve Bank’s economic forecast survey of Chamber members  (https://cdn.chamberphl.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/EO_23_Survey-Results_Final.pdf) , a discussion of the state and future of the global economy and markets from a keynote speaker and a panel of regional business leaders spotlighting the key economic trends that will shape our region in the coming year*  *source:ChamberPHL.com

My key takeaways from the survey; responders are anticipating revenue growth, price increases (both prices paid and received), the hiring of additional full-time employees (albeit with the expectation that quality applicants will remain a struggle), and interest rate hikes. 

The panel discussion expanded on the survey insights but focused primarily on the great debates of pundits near and far:

  • Are we currently in a recession or is one right around the corner?
  • Inflation, which according to keynote speaker Lara Rhame, Chief US Economist at FS Investments, peaked at 9% in mid-2022 – “a level we haven’t experienced in a generation.”

The OOH market, primarily in the Philadelphia metro area and specifically for an independent such as Keystone Outdoor, is not immune to these factors, although OOH is a resilient and historically sound segment of the advertising industry known for its “versatility and durability” * *source:OAAA.org

Notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19 in 2020 (a double-digit drop in spending), OOH has experienced continued spending growth for decades highlighted by the fact that modest single digit declines were reported only three times since 1970; in 1992, 2001 and 2008.  source: OAAA.org

Statistics like these tell me that advertisers know the value of OOH; consistent viewership along the highways of the Delaware Valley at a reasonable cost compared to other forms of advertising.   The current economic uncertainties shouldn’t dissuade advertisers from OOH. Rather it is in times such as these that businesses should invest and stay the course with proven marketing strategies.   Wawa President & CEO, Christopher Gheysens, an Economic Outlook panelist, remarking on Wawa’s current expansion plans in slowing economy noted “the objective is to stay tight and focused.”   

Don’t let the flurry of economic data distract you from what you know works!