Activity levels across the UK’s hotels, B&Bs and guest houses are showing a pre-emptive rise in traffic, with the presence of staff, workers (and a number of outdoor drinkers) behind a 35% rise in presence beginning April 12th. Analysis of when hotels have been busiest during the period since April 12th reveals that activity is highly concentrated in working hours, with up to 15% more attendance taking place between 9am and 5pm.
Towns and cities in the UK’s North East, North West and West Midlands show early signs of getting back to previous working patterns, with high-frequency geo-location data revealing a sharp rise in commuting practices during April as lockdown restrictions eased. The data measures the extent to which residents of UK towns and cities travel beyond their home environments on a frequent basis – a traditional commuting pattern.
Pub-going has increased almost twice as quickly as it did after the first lockdown lifted in July 2020, with attendance surging in comparison to the equivalent days last year. However, while pubs are recovering almost twice as fast than they did previously, Huq’s high-frequency footfall data reveals there is still a long way to go.
Non-essential retail in Portsmouth was among the busiest in the South East of England after non-essential retail reopened on April 12th, with data from Huq Industries’ Community Vision product revealing the cities that bounced back fastest in the first full week. Community Vision, Huq’s high-street measurement tool for local Councils, measures footfall, catchments and other essential KPIs in order that towns and cities can follow and optimise the recovery from Covid-19 on a near-realtime basis.
To mark the re-opening of non-essential retail last week, Huq has used insights from Community Vision, it’s high-street measurement tool for local Councils, to chart the recovery of the top and bottom towns and cities across England and Wales. The data measures both pedestrian footfall and in-store visits to non-essential outlets across 10,000+ high-streets between Monday 5th and Saturday 17th April, aggregated to the city level. Chelmsford in Essex has topped the list for footfall growth since non-essential retail’s reopening, with an increase of 71.9% over the first week. However, while Chelmsford has been busy in terms of footfall, Exeter has in fact seen the greatest rise in non-essential store visits, with levels almost tripling in the week (up 227.3%) – albeit from a small base.
The volume of transits through the UK’s ports of entry since March 1st has tracked consistently at 10-15pts above January 2020 levels, while at the same time delays have returned to ’normal’ levels. This suggests that UK ports are performing more efficiently than at any time during the last year and a quarter, as the time taken to process transits has decreased by up to 15%.
Visits to the UK’s pubs spiked up to 60pts this week, with high-frequency geo-data showing how Monday’s easing is of restrictions has drawn millions to the nation’s beer gardens. The Huq Index had recorded only nominal visits to pubs since the start of the year, which can be largely attributed to staff and venues which offer takeaway food. However, following the first phase of hospitality’s reopening on Monday, Huq’s single day measure shows a jump of 60pts+ supporting reports that many have rushed to book outdoor tables.
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.