British over-50s have had a vaccine-induced spring in their step over the last few weeks, with the number of park visits amongst this demographic doubling since the start of the year. The acceleration in parks’ usage is significantly greatest for those in this demographic: rising at 51% more than those aged 30-40, and 85% more than those aged 20-30, having begun the year 17% below all other age groups.
Travel between the UK and the Republic of Ireland has shown resilience over the course of the last year with levels 50pts greater than between the UK and all other countries, as high-frequency mobility data suggests that Brexit has had little impact on the volume of traffic since January 1st 2021. The Index reveals that travel to and from Ireland saw a sharp drop at the start of the pandemic, however, it quickly recovered to 80% of pre-pandemic levels and has since remained 50pts greater than that of journeys between the UK and the rest of the world.
Restaurants and bars in California have experienced a surge in visits over the last two months, with footfall reaching a post-pandemic high of 78% as the state’s vaccine roll out gathers pace.
Driving through any big city is rarely a pleasure, but for Londoners, a move towards private transport, LTNs and cycle lanes is causing congestion that could test even the most patient drivers. Huq’s high-frequency geo-location data records the speed of drivers across the UK’s A-Road network throughout the pandemic to provide an up-to-date measure of delays. The indicator shows that congestion in London saw a significant increase of over 30pts in cases with traffic volumes still well below what it was before the pandemic.
Population mobility in the UK remains around half of its pre-pandemic level as we look back on a year of restrictions. Huq’s high-frequency footfall data provides an accurate measure of how policy has impacted movement in the UK throughout the pandemic, which averages around -40pts throughout the last year. As restrictions eased last summer, high-street footfall reached a peak of 75% of the January 2020 mean in July and August, before dropping to a series low of 40% at the start of this year.
In-person supermarket visits in the EU are at their lowest point since the start of the pandemic, with trips reaching to a new low of just 34% of previous levels as coronavirus cases rise sharply in the region once again. Footfall to stores had tracked as high as 80% of usual levels at the start of the year before experiencing a sharp decline since February, which saw both France and Poland reintroducing partial lockdowns to fight a third wave.
Presence across UK quick-service restaurants is showing signs of awakening for the first time since the start of the current national lockdown, with high-frequency geo-location data recording an increase in attendance from a very low base. Although levels remain just a fraction of what they were before the pandemic – and have yet to climb higher than 11% of the January 2020 mean – the data shows how collections are driving footfall ahead of hospitality reopening on 12 April.
In-person visits to UK high street banks has remained static at around 50% of pre-pandemic levels since the start of 2020, with the number of visits climbing just 6pts during February despite the end of the financial year approaching. Bank visits dropped to around 40% of the January 2020 average during the first national lockdown before recovering to 85pts over the summer. However, despite a brief peak to 70% of ‘usual’ levels in the run up to Christmas, activity remains largely flat.
Transits through the UK’s largest ports of entry have risen past pre-Covid levels for the first time in over a year, as high-frequency data from Huq shows how international trade could be bouncing back after reaching record lows. Journeys through the likes of Felixtstowe, Dover and Southhampton had recovered over last summer to around 90% of pre-pandemic levels before the latest national lockdown saw this figure drop to around 75%.
Amid the recent warm weather, roadmap announcements and continuing restrictions, park usage has increased significantly during February. Building on our recent coverage of this trend, new data from Huq Industries reveals that the driving force behind park visits are those in their 30s, out-stripping those in their 40s by 15pts and those in their 20s by 20pts.
Visits to England’s parks and gardens have surged past pre-Covid levels in recent weeks as warmer weather and light at the end of the lockdown tunnel coaxes people out for walks. Park-going stood at two-thirds of year-on-year levels at the end of 2020 – 30pts higher than the first national lockdown – before starting to climb again at the start of February.
In-person visits to UK supermarkets during the second national lockdown has been consistently lower than in May with high-frequency data suggesting that the shift towards online grocery shopping is becoming entrenched. In-store supermarket footfall fell by around 25% during the first national lockdown almost a year ago before regaining near normal levels in the Autumn. However, during this latest national lockdown in-person visits have declined to 50% – a reduction of a further 25pts.
The number of people visiting city centres jumped by 10% following Boris’ roadmap announcements on 22 February, suggesting that light at the end of the tunnel and more confidence in the vaccine programme could be causing lockdown compliance to slip.
In previous outputs we have looked extensively at how footfall across UK urban centres has changed in response to Covid-19, and more recently at how catchment areas have undergone similar transformation over the same period. In this analysis we use our mobile geo-location data to explore how dwell time – the duration of visitors to high-streets and town centres – has changed in the past 14 months and contrast those differences by income group.
Footfall across Europe’s clothing, hospitality and leisure industries has fallen by almost a third so far in February amid a broader consumer sector decline as the continent faces a new wave of the virus. All in-store activity indices are pushing lower as reports of tightening restrictions and slow vaccine roll-out appear to be hitting consumer confidence and mobility according to data from Huq Industries.
The European defence industry is making a strong recovery from the effects of the pandemic as worker activity reaches its highest level since the outbreak began. On-site staffing has reached over 70 percent of pre-Covid 19 figures, and are continuing to rise ahead of the wider European industrial sector.
Transits through British ports have climbed back to pre-Brexit levels and delays are showing signs of creeping down. Levels of traffic dropped by more than a quarter after the trade deal was struck and delays jumped by 15 per cent as port officials struggled with the new rules, according to Huq Industries high frequency index. But freight volumes have risen back to 94 per cent of normal levels before Covid-19 – roughly equal to their pre-Brexit levels – and they appear to be still rising.
Footfall across British clothes shops has been lower than the rest of Europe for the entire pandemic as tough lockdown measures push customers to online retailers. While footfall across UK clothing retailers has flatlined during this second lockdown, it’s significant to note that equivalent levels in Europe have been tracking at 30pts since early December.
The impact of the pandemic on the travel industry, and aviation in particular, is laid bare in mobility data showing how outbound trips from the UK reduced by 75% throughout most of last year. High frequency data from Huq Industries shows how total trips abroad fell significantly during the first lockdown and have never recovered – currently languishing at 25 percent of 2019 levels.
The pandemic has touched all parts of society. But as new data from Huq Industries shows, the effect has been felt unevenly and particularly in respect of different socio-economic groups. We are all encouraged to stay at home where possible, and to limit our movements and social interactions. To that end, the chart below offers a measure of footfall into town and city centres across the UK, broken out by income group tercile.