Footfall in town and city centres has started to edge up following the reopening of the hospitality sector, with pubs faring better than restaurants as people venture out to eat and drink.
The insights come in the first in a new series of reports pairing CGA’s sales, openings and consumer data with Wireless Social’s analysis of footfall across Britain. Wireless Social’s sample of more than 1,000 locations revealed that weekly footfall to Saturday (11 July) was 63% of the weekly average in February, the last full month before lockdown.
This represents an increase from the final seven days before hospitality’s reopening, when footfall was 66% down on the February average. It is also the highest since mid-March, when the government’s full lockdown came into force. However, it is clearly still a long way short of pre-pandemic levels, and indicates the scale of the challenge to encourage people back to high streets.
The data also reinforces the early conclusion that drink-led venues are recovering visitors faster than food-led ones. Footfall in drink-led pubs was down 51% on the February average, but the drop was much steeper in restaurants at 64%.
Wireless Social’s stats show that last week’s increase in footfall was lower than the average in major cities like London (-65%) and Manchester (-68%)—an indication that many consumers are still anxious about returning to crowded locations. It is more substantially down in Scottish and Welsh cities like Edinburgh (-75%) and Cardiff (-76%), where licensed premises had not yet reopened, which demonstrates the ability of hospitality to revive visits to high streets.
Across Britain, footfall increased in all dayparts week-on-week, while bars had the highest rate of recovery. Wireless Social’s wi fi data shows that consumers’ devices are connecting for much less time than the pre-lockdown average—perhaps suggesting that people are making shorter visits out-of-home.
The report from CGA and Wireless Social aims to support both operators and suppliers to focus activity in the right place at the right time by uncovering the locations with the biggest opportunities. Alongside the report, the Wireless Social footfall data is now also available through CGA’s retailer intelligence and sales targeting platform, RISE.