Confidence returning to Liverpool’s economy in Q4 2021
Liverpool city centre’s economy saw over £743m spent in Q4 2021 in the crucial Christmas season, seeing the city almost return to pre-pandemic levels of spend.
£2.1bn is spent each quarter in Liverpool City Region’s economy, with spend covering retail, hospitality, business, food, drink, motoring, services, business and health. 2021 saw a marked return to pre-Covid levels with the city’s economy, but more work is still to be done if the city is to rebound fully as recovery continues.
Tracking Visa Online, Visa-Merchant and Non Visa spend*, the performance of the city’s economy throughout the pandemic shows an expected drop during each of the three lockdowns, where spend drops to below £1.6bn in lockdown 1 and below £1.75bn in lockdowns 2 and 3, showing the breadth of the economic dip created by the pandemic.
Spend recovered in 2021 with the merchant economy (Card and online spend) in L1, L2 and L3 rallying significantly after each lockdown. In Q4 2021, total spend in the city centre hit £734m, the highest total since Q4 2019. The largest spend by postcode in the city was in L1, with L1 outperforming the merchant performance in central areas compared with Manchester and Leeds.
The key drivers of the daytime economy – 6am to 6pm – in Liverpool city centre are clothing, retail and restaurants with Q4 seeing a rise in the average transaction value. Retail and the high street in Liverpool city centre saw the biggest increase in spend compared with Q3, outperforming the national average. Clothing sales saw an increase in Q3 and was in line with the national average. Restaurants were down slightly on Q3 and sat below the national average.
Liverpool saw the impact of the return of its visitor economy in Q4 2021 with the return of visitors from the Liverpool City Region as well as further afield. £314m of VISA spent in Liverpool City Region was from outside of Liverpool compared with £321.5 in 2019 in Q4.
In 2019 Q4, nearby towns contributed £129m to Liverpool City Region’s economy (Bootle £30.4m, Wirral £31.4m, Southport £11.7m). In 2021 Q4 that figure stood at £107m (Bootle £14m, Wirral £18.9m, Southport £14m).
Bill Addy is CEO of Liverpool BID Company, who commissioned the data:
“Liverpool’s recovery has been steady in 2021 but the focus of our work needs to be on what drives our economy and how we can support it. Confidence is key for 2022 and beyond and we need to be mindful of what may be holding people back. We need to ensure that those in Wirral, Bootle and the rest of Liverpool City Region are happy to get a bus, a train or to drive into the city centre. We need to maximise that daytime economy as well as Liverpool’s nightlife.
Liverpool’s strength comes from its mixed economy and what we are seeing is the need to focus on those areas that need an injection of confidence. Events we are co-funding, like Taste Liverpool, will show the breadth of offer in our food and drink sector while cultural events help to attract the whole family to the city for a day out.”