More than £536.3m was spent in Liverpool city centre in the last quarter, £87m more than was spent in the previous three months. As sectors like hospitality and leisure reopened, £113m was spent in restaurants, £87m on clothing and high street retail, £19m on accommodation and £5m on leisure and entertainment.

Liverpool BID Company, in partnership with Movement Strategies, reveals how the city centre’s economy has fared over the past quarter as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. It reveals behaviour patterns in spend and which areas of the economy are performing strongly, as well as geographical spread of consumer habits.

In July, August and September, people in Liverpool spent more on Restaurants (59% increase £113m vs £71m in Q2), Clothing (181% increase, £48m vs £17m), Accommodation (100% increase, £19m vs £10m), Retail & High Street (19%, 39m vs 32m) and Leisure and Entertainment (84% increase, £5m vs £3m).

With the reopening of restaurants, supermarkets took a dip, with spend dropping by 36% compared with Q2, £29m from £46m.

Total spend in L1, L2 and L3, covering Liverpool city centre was £536.3m in Q3 including card and cash payments. VISA card transactions totalled £349.1m, and cash and other card payments reached £187.2m. Across the whole city there has been a growth on online expenditure which has sustained after the end of covid restrictions with a jump from 32% overall to around 40% of the total expenditure.

The impact of visitors returning to Liverpool can be seen in the data. Around 30% of spend in Liverpool in Q3 came from people outside Liverpool City Region. Someone from London spends on average £160 in the city, while a visitor from Manchester spends on average £99.The biggest out of town spenders were from North Wales, Leeds and Bedford. 

The most popular areas for visitors to Liverpool from outside the region are; North Wales, Cheshire, Leeds, Cumbria, Hull, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Northern Ireland. The stricter Covid-19 restrictions still in place during Q3 in Scotland and Northern Ireland attracted a higher number of visitors into Liverpool.

Looking at the time people are spending gives an indication of how behaviour might be changing. In Q2 2021, over 30% of spend was between 2.30pm and 6pm. 27% was after 6pm, it’s around the same in Q3. The major difference is the increase in evening spend in Q3 compared with Q1, £32m higher than before the first lockdown in March 2020.

Across the wider city, different areas of the city have different rates of local spending. In L27 – Garston, Halewood, Belle Vale, there was a 60% increase in local spending. A 10% increase was seen in L17, L18 and L19, Aigburth, Mossley Hill, Garston and Speke. All are areas with popular high streets and shopping centres. Postcodes with a decrease in spend include L13, L5, L10, L9, L14, L24 and L7, including Old Swan, Everton, Aintree, Bootle, Dovecot, Knotty Ash, Speke and Kensington.

Bill Addy is CEO of Liverpool BID Company:

“We have known that Liverpool’s recovery has been sustained whenever restrictions have eased and that is reflected in these figures. Liverpool benefits from having a strong offer, both in terms of culture and commerce which makes it attractive to business and visitors alike.

“Yet while these are encouraging they do suggest we need to focus on a need to look to the future and support our businesses in doing that. The economic impact of Covid could well lead to long term behavioural change which could have a significant impact on the local economy. We need to support business to be able to adapt to that. We can see the shift to online payments and activity, which will have a continued and major impact on retail and leisure particularly. We need to examine how we can support businesses to adapt, be that through skills, advice on technology and an understanding of behavioural change so they are better equipped to understand and plan for it.

“Q4 is critical for retail, hospitality and leisure, with it representing around 50% of their annual income, so the next few months are important for the city and its economy as we head into 2022.”

Natalie Haywood is a BID Champion for Hospitality and Managing Director of LEAF:

“The spend in hospitality has helped the industry to survive. This summer was make or break for many hospitality businesses and the support from visitors and those coming to hospitality venues has pulled us through. The next few months, especially as we head into the pre-Christmas period, are crucial. There are certain aspects we need as a sector. Recruitment continues to be an issue and we need sector support within the visitor economy, within hospitality and retail. The overseas visa scheme needs to be extended to cover this sector so that we can fill gaps in our employment. Without it we run the risk of not being able to perform to our capability.

“Supply chains continue to be an issue for hospitality and we need clear guidance on how those backlogs will be cleared. Costs are increasing and as an industry we have to ask whether we can pass that onto the customer, something nobody wants to do.

“Mental health support is crucial across the sector. As an industry we are tired, we are working incredibly hard and we need to focus on the health our ourselves and our staff as we continue to navigate the choppy waters post pandemic and post Brexit.”

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