Welcome to Liverpool BID Company’s Business Insights Update for April 2022. This month we’ve focused on some broader trends in footfall and expenditure across the pandemic, and have also provided the data from our latest vacancy survey in the Retail & Leisure BID.

From a footfall perspective we’ve looked at two things. Firstly, we’ve analysed the evolution of YoY and MoM comparisons by month from January 2020 to March 2022; the trend earlier on in the pandemic saw more volatility in traffic trends, with significant spikes in MoM differences ‘dragging’ the YoY comparison closer to pre-pandemic parity, with the reverse trend occurring in lockdowns; in more recent months we’ve seen a less volatile trend, as we’ve steadily moved closer to a pre-pandemic level of busy-ness in the city. Secondly we’ve looked at average Saturday footfall across whole years broken down by day-part; and here we saw a trend that we’ve previously seen, which is that evening and late-night traffic are higher post-pandemic, whilst day-time traffic has dropped off, particularly earlier in the day.

From an expenditure perspective, we’ve looked at the towns in the local vicinity to see where is providing what we call ‘high calorie’ visitors: that is, the areas where spend into Liverpool exceeds the visitation level to Liverpool. What we saw here was that there is a band of towns – Southport, Ormskirk, Prescot, Widnes and Warrington – who provide ‘higher calorie’ visitors relative to other areas.

You can download the PDF of the full report by clicking the black button below, or read the bulk of the update by staying on this page.

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Liverpool city centre footfall analysis

Did people visit Liverpool city centre in March 22?

Following three months of footfall dropping MoM after October 2021 (in November and December 2021 and January 2022), March 2022 represents the second consecutive month where MoM traffic has increased significantly. The 17.7% increase in MoM traffic was higher than the 16.3% in February compared to January, and represents an exponential growth in traffic to complete the first quarter of 2022.

The traffic levels in March 2022 are also closer to pre-pandemic levels than in any month we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic. The -5.1% YoY figure when compared to an adjusted figure from 2019 is 4.5 percentage points higher than the next closest month (August 2021).

Though traffic has increased in all parts of the country, the sustained level of footfall growth in Liverpool means that the city is closer to parity in YoY terms than elsewhere in the UK. That Liverpool is trending 12.7 percentage points higher YoY against the UK average further highlights the extent of Liverpool’s recovery in terms of people revisiting the city.

How did footfall change during the pandemic?

The graph below shows the MoM % increases or decreases in footfall traffic (the red line), and YoY % increases and decreases in footfall traffic (the blue line), for all the months from January 2020 through to March 2022.

The key trends are as follows:

  • The troughs in YoY traffic (blue line) coincide with the various lockdowns or tightening of restrictions, with the MoM trend ‘pulling’ the YoY trend upward or downward
  • MoM traffic (red line) has been very volatile, with traffic increasing as lockdowns have been eased, and falling drastically when restrictions were implemented
  • Since January 2021 (amid lockdown) traffic patterns have become more consistent: YoY traffic has moved steadily back towards pre-pandemic levels in-line with less fluctuant but persistent MoM growth

The shift toward night-time traffic in the city

The below graph shows the average traffic for a Saturday in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022 across different day parts, collated into day-traffic (7am to 9pm, denoted by the D) and night-traffic (9pm to 7am on Sunday, denoted by the N) . The data is taken from the 5 footfall cameras present in all the years: on Bold Street at Mattas; Williamson Square; Whitechapel; Church Street; and Clayton Square.

As you can see, day-traffic was consistent from 2017 to 2019, but has now dropped in 2022, mostly due to a drop-off during the 7am to 5pm period. Night-traffic, however, has significantly increased in 2022 relative to the pre-pandemic years, driven mostly by the late traffic from midnight to 7am on Sunday, as reflected by increases spend in bars and pubs in the city following the easing of restrictions.

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Merseyside Expenditure Analysis

Where are the high calorie spenders coming from in the local vicinity?

This map shows the ‘calorie’ level of spenders in the local vicinity across various quarters.

The average ‘calorie’ figure represents the ratio of spend to visitors in Liverpool centre from a particular area. The higher the average ‘calorie’ of visitor, the higher the % of spend is relative to the % of visitors from a particular destination. A ratio above 1 means that a greater proportion of spend is coming from that area than the proportion of visitors, and a ratio below 1 means that a particular area makes up a higher proportion of visitors than it does spend.

From this map, we can see:

  • High calorie visitors (blue): Southport, Ormskirk, Prescot, Widnes, Warrington
  • Low calorie visitors (yellow): Wigan, Birkenhead, Wirral
  • Very low calorie visitors (red): Bootle, Wallasey, Prenton, St. Helens

Liverpool city centre vacancy analysis

Liverpool city centre vacancy analysis

Events at the ACC

Watch out for the following events at the ACC in the coming weeks:

  • Craig David: Sunday 24 April
  • Little Mix: Tuesday 26 April
  • Andre Rieu: Thursday 28 April
  • Dua Lipa: Friday 29 April
  • George Ezra: Saturday 30 April
  • Blondie: Monday 2 May
  • Bill Bailey: Thursday 5 May
  • Strictly come Dancing – The Professionals: Friday 6 May
  • Alan Partridge: Wednesday 11 May
  • Bryan Adams: Wednesday 18 May
  • The Script: Thursday 19 May

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

Opening watch

Alongside the vacancy data we’ve provided, please see below the predicted dates of the major new openings in the coming months:

  • Decathlon (Church Street): opening 28 April 2022
  • Cheers Big Ears (Bold Street): opening April 2022. Read details here.
  • Nova Scotia (Mann Island): opening in May 2022. Read details here.
  • Flannels (Parker Street): opening June 2022
  • Zenn Liverpool (Victoria Street): opening Summer 2022. Read details here.

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.