Looking back at 2020

UK Shopping Center Monthly Visitor Trend

This year started quite positive, with slightly more visitors in January (+1%) & February (+4%) compared to the same months in 2019. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, we have seen an unprecedented decrease in footfall, starting with a decrease of –41% in March.

First lockdown

The first lockdown began on March 23rd when all non-essential retail along with hospitality had to close. This resulted in a decrease of -90% in April compared to last year, an unprecedented decrease that continued throughout May (-87%). On the 15th June restrictions were eased by the UK government with the announcement that non-essential retailers could reopen, this resulted in a decrease of -70% in June (YoY).

Localised lockdowns

By the end of June health officials warned of a second wave and imposed some localised lockdowns in several areas in Northern England. This resulted in large differences in footfall numbers in several parts of the United Kingdom. Note: in this overview we talk about average footfall numbers throughout the entire UK. In July (-47%) the year on year gap in visitors started to decline, and in August (-38%) it further improved following the ‘Eat out to help out’ initiative. September (-37%) and October (-40%) remained relatively stable despite 3 Tier restrictions coming into force in England and both Wales and Northern Ireland seeing full lockdowns once again imposed. November (-66%) shows a big drop again compared to last year as England was once again forced into another period of lockdown from the 5th onwards.