Welcome to Liverpool BID Company’s Business Insights Update for September 2021. This month we’ve continued to focus on what is driving the increases in footfall to the city, and who these increases in footfall are comprised of. A key takeaway from the data is that summer traffic started to reflect pre-pandemic levels, and that this increase in tourism has been driven by people travelling into the city from other parts of the UK.

You can read the full report here, or link to a downloadable version by clicking the button immediately below.

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Liverpool city centre footfall analysis

Did people visited Liverpool city centre in August 2021?

Footfall increased another 6.4% in August relative to July. After the initial spike in footfall following the beginning of easing restrictions in May and June, July only saw an upturn of 1.5% in footfall relative to June.

As such, this 6.4% increase in August is encouraging, and potentially shows that the effects of seasonality are beginning to have a similar impact to what was the case pre-Covid.

These possible seasonality effects are explored in the following 2 pages, where we will look at the effects of tourism on footfall, especially without any restrictions in place.

The -9.6% YoY comparison (relative to an adjusted August 2019 figure) is also extremely positive. At a monthly increment this is the closest we’ve seen footfall to pre-pandemic levels. Given that August 2021 is the first full month without restrictions of any kind in place, this also points to a positive trend moving forward.

Visitors continue to return to the city

The graph below is an extension on the graph we provided last month. It shows the proportion of visitors coming from incremental catchment distances, and is looking at August and September of 2020 (when restrictions were at their most lax last summer) and at July and August of 2021 (the latter month of which had no restrictions in place).

Last month we saw that the opening up ofthe city and economy in July 2021 led to the proportion of those travelling from 50km+ away to jump from 16% and 18% in the summer of 2020 to 24% in July 2021.

The addition of the August figures here, show that this trend in people travelling from this distance away increased further, to 27% in August 2021.

Whilst this may, in part, be expected with the full easing of restrictions at the end of July, it could also point to a return to an influx of Tourists and a shift back to patterns of seasonality we experienced prior to Covid.

Where did people travel from in August 2021?

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

The proportion of people travelling from 50km+ away increased from 24% to 27%, with greater increases seen in:

  • Midlands +0.5
  • The South East +0.5
  • The West Country +0.5
  • Other increasing locations +1

and with decreases seen in:

  • Northern Ireland -0.9
  • South Scotland -0.6

It’s worth noting that in Northern Ireland and Scotland Covid restrictions were still in place during July 2021, limiting the capacity of people to socialize and access the night-time economy.

Most Covid restrictions ended in Scotland on 8 August while some restrictions were lifted on 26 July in Northern Ireland.

Summer visitors return to the city

The level to which those travelling from further afield is impacting on the total footfall to the city is particularly evident when we compare footfall in August 2020 with August 2021.

The graph below shows the increase in actual footfall traffic in August 2021 for each catchment distance relative to August 2020, such that we can see the impact on Summer Tourism of the restrictions being eased.

Though there is an increase in actual numbers from all catchments – as would be expected given the lack of restrictions in August 2021 – this is largely driven by those coming to the city from outside the immediate vicinity.

Of the total increase, 58% of it can be attributed to those travelling from 50km+ away. This amounts to 823,999 more visits in the city from those travelling from farther afield.

The below map shows the distribution of visitors coming from 50km+ to Liverpool in August 2021, and provides comparison by percentage points, against August 2020 such that we can see the difference in levels of tourism or summer traffic.Even though the amount and proportion of traffic coming from South Scotland and Northern Ireland was lower in August 2021 relative to July 2021, compared to last summer in August 2020, both regions, alongside the Midlands, drove the influx of traffic coming from farther afield this summer. The highest increases in the proportion of traffic came from the following regions:

  • Midlands +1.4
  • South Scotland +1.3
  • Northern Ireland +0.9
  • South East +0.8
  • Other increasing locations +1.7

Office workers returning to the city?

The chart below is a heat map showing the percentage difference in footfall by hour between the week starting the 30 August 2021 and the week starting 6 September 2021.

As you can see, in general, footfall was down, with more hours showing a drop in footfall in the week starting 6 September.

This is to be expected given that the 30 August itself was a bank holiday, and that the following days were the last of the school holidays.

The notable and consistent hours that showed an uplift across the week, however, were between the hours of 8am and 10am. This was most pronounced, furthermore, at the beginning of the week, and could represent a trend of office workers returning to offices during commuting hours.

The current office occupancy rate across the city is 30%. We’ll track this figure over the next few weeks to understand if this is a trend set to continue through autumn.Find out more

What to be aware of in September and October 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:

  • Tuesday 21 September: Anthem of the Seas
  • Thursday 23 September: Celebrity Silhouette
  • Wednesday 29 September: Anthem of the Seas
  • Thursday 30 September: Anthem of the Seas
  • Monday 4 October: Anthem of the Seas
  • Tuesday 12 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 24 September: Harlem Globetrotters
  • Saturday 25 September: FIT X Finals
  • Tuesday 28 September: McFly
  • Wednesday 29 September: Freshers Fair
  • Saturday 25 September and Sunday 26 September: Wedding Show

You can see the full event list here.

If you would like to receive the monthly event listing directly into your inbox, contact rachel.kennedy@accliverpool.com

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 26 September, Mersey Tunnel 10k: starts just yards from the emergency Tunnel exit road on Blackstock Street on the Liverpool side of the River Mersey, and drops directly down on to the main approach road into the tunnel. The race finishes at New Brighton.
  • 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.