The latest Business Insights Update from the Liverpool BID Company has focused on the return of footfall back to a pattern of seasonality. Following a summer driven by visitors from farther afield, the autumn traffic appears to be driven by commuters in the local region and by return tourists from Northern Ireland and South Scotland. You can read the bulk of the insights in this article, or click on the button below to access the full report.

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Liverpool city centre footfall analysis

Did people visit Liverpool city centre in September 2021?

Footfall fell slightly this month, with the MoM figure at -2.4%. This also represented a slight fall when looking at the YoY comparison, with September 2021’s total footfall 11.6% lower than September 2019’s (adjusted).

Given the increase in visitors from farther afield in August 2021, however, and the boost of the tourism sector, this drop was somewhat to be expected, and is, in fact, encouraging, as it potentially signals a return to the patterns of footfall month-on-month that we were seeing pre-pandemic. In addition to this, the YoY figure is stabilizing around the -10% mark, with the hope that the return of office workers to the city will boost this to parity against pre-pandemic levels.

The next three slides explain why the footfall has dropped, and also show the development of commuters returning to Liverpool centre.

You can see full footfall figures on our dedicated footfall page on our website here.

Visitors continue to return to the city

As with the last two reports, we’ve included the graph below to show the catchment of people travelling to the city centre. This month we’re comparing September 2021 with August 2021 and with September 2020, to understand the change in footfall relative to the height of the tourist season, and also to see the change this September with schools fully open and the potential return of the office worker.

Though the proportion of people coming from 50km+ away dropped to 22% in September 2021, this is significantly higher than the 18% in September 2019, and shows more consistency from a wider catchment.

This drop, furthermore, is fully accounted for by the increase of 5% to those travelling from within 10km (i.e. the Liverpool City region).

As the next couple of slides show, this is likely because of the increase of commuters and office workers to the city.

Where did people travel from in September 2021?

This map shows the distribution of visitors coming from 50km+ to Liverpool in September 2021, and provides comparison by percentage points, against August 2021.

The proportion of people travelling from 50km+ away decreased from 27% to 22% with greater decreases seen in:

  • Midlands -0.9
  • The North East -0.3
  • Cumbria -0.3

There were increases in Northern Ireland and Scotland (by +0.8 and +0.1 respectively), indicating a return of those locations to driving tourism to the city.

This pattern also suggests a move back to seasonality of sorts, with the summer providing more tourism from farther afield and the autumn in the build up to Christmas mostly driven by the local region.

The return of the commuter?

The graph below shows the WoW change of footfall, by day, comparing specific weeks that represent various stages following the easing of restrictions. Specifically, the WoW percentage relates to footfall between 8am-9am, such that we can understand whether there has been an increase in those travelling to the city at those times, which we would assume to be commuters.

Understandably, the week after restrictions were lifted (the bars on the far left) comparative to when restrictions were in place show an increase on most days.

There after, on the second week of August, there is somewhat of a levelling.

Significantly, however, footfall between 8am and 9am increased on all days on the w/c 6 September relative to mid-August, when schools returned, school holidays ended, and commuters were freed of child-care responsibility. This increase, furthermore, has continued into late September, suggesting that people are travelling more and more for work.

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What to be aware of in October & November 2021…

Cruises coming to Liverpool!

We’ve had confirmation from Cruise Liverpool that a number of cruises stopping in Liverpool over the next few weeks will allow their guests to tour the city independently following the easing of restrictions. As such, you may expect to see an upturn in visitor traffic form the following cruises:

Sunday 17 October: Anthem of the Seas

Friday 22 October: Anthem of the Sea

Wednesday 27 October: Anthem of the Seas

You can see the full Cruise Schedule on the Cruise Liverpool website here.Events at the ACC

With the easing of restrictions and the return of live events, watch out for the following events at the ACC in the coming weeks:

Friday 22 October: Ricky Gervais

Friday 29 / Saturday 30 October: UNISON Disabled Members Conference

Friday 29 October: Richard Ashcroft

Saturday 30 October: DMA’s

Tuesday 2 / Wednesday 3 November: JLS

Thursday 4 November: Rick Astley

Monday 8 / Tuesday 9 November: Museum Association National Conference

Friday 12 November: Fatboy Slim

Thursday 18 November: Steps

You can see the full event list here.

If you would like to receive the monthly event listing directly into your inbox, contact

Running events in Liverpool

Courtesy of BTR Road Runners, there are a number of runs starting an finishing in Liverpool city centre in the coming weeks and months. Watch out for:

Sunday 5 December, Appreciate Liverpool Santa Dash: The Liverpool Santa Dash is the biggest and longest established Santa Run in the UK. Starts at Pier Head, flows through the centre, before passing through Royal Albert Dock and finishes in front of the Town Hall.

You can find out full details of all the events here, on the BTR Road Runner site.

Stay up to date with transport and opportunities

Have a look at the latest transport disruption and road works in the city centre, along with checking the latest BID opportunities for your business.