A Data-Driven Analysis
As the world adapts to new working practices, it is no surprise that footfall in towns and cities has also experienced significant changes. At PFM Footfall Intelligence, we have been keeping a close eye on these trends, and our recent data analysis reveals some unexpected and fascinating insights into the impact of flexible working on footfall patterns.
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The Shift Towards Working from Home
With passenger numbers on railways still 30% below pre-Covid levels, it is clear that many people have embraced remote work and are travelling less frequently. This change in working habits has directly affected footfall in urban centres, as fewer people commute to offices or shop during their lunch breaks.
On the other hand, the rise of local shopping habits may be offsetting this trend to some extent. For example, many people now have access to multiple supermarkets within walking distance from their homes, allowing them to shop locally without being tracked by footfall counters. This shift in shopping behaviour may even be contributing to larger retailers, like M&S, closing some of their stores.
The Resilience of Weekend Footfall
Our data analysis reveals that, despite the decline in footfall during weekdays, weekend footfall remains strong and is even in line with 2019 levels. This trend has been improving this year, suggesting that people working from home are now more likely to shop and engage in leisure activities during weekends.
The repurposing of empty retail units into entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys and cinemas, could be a result of this trend, as people seek to combine shopping trips with leisure experiences.
A Glimpse into the Future: The Importance of High-Quality Data
Our data highlights that change is indeed upon us, and the key to navigating these transformations lies in having accurate, reliable data to inform decision-making. Whether it is understanding the impact of remote work on footfall or analysing the rise of local shopping habits, businesses and urban planners need access to high-quality data to anticipate and respond to these trends effectively.
As the famous quote goes, "The future belongs to those who can see it coming." By staying informed and leveraging data-driven insights, businesses and communities can adapt to the shifting landscape and thrive in the face of change.
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