High Streets Task Force PRDG November 2020 Insight Report

Data from the Task Force Professional Research and Data Group, generated in order to inform practice and policy for high streets across England. This November 2020 insight report includes significant detail on high street footfall, business impacts, and perceptions of shoppers. It is available as a PDF.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 13 October 2021

The Professional Research and Data Group, is a key part of the High Streets Task Force. Since COVID-19 the High Streets Task Force has pivoted to focus on supporting place leaders through COVID-19 crisis. This has meant refocusing the PRDG to a new aim; to work collaboratively, using our data, networks, skills and expertise to:

  • Understand the scale of the crisis and its impact on town centres/high streets
  • Support government with evidence/data for policy/response
  • Provide/sense-check the evidence-base for HSTF action and messaging

This November 2020 presentation summarises the latest data, research and insight the members of the PRDG have generated in order to inform practice and policy for high streets across England.

The PRDG membership is:

  • Royal Town Planning Institute (Chair)
  • Institute of Place Management (Research Lead & team)
  • Cardiff University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Maybe*
  • Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • Springboard
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Ordnance Survey
  • PwC (secretariat)

This month’s PRDG research summary is available in one version: PDF report (attached above). This month's data pack includes:

  • Footfall data for the UK demonstrating that it has been falling since the end of February and that footfall on the 5th November 2020 is down 65.6% compared to the same figure last year, and down 43.5% compared to the same figure last week. This drop in footfall could be due to the second national lockdown.
  • ONS data showing the business impact of COVID-19 in the UK. The data illustrates that the majority of businesses do indeed continue to trade, apart from in the Accommodation and Food Service Activities sector where only 75.4% of businesses surveyed continue to trade. There is still an overall fall in turnover for 44.9% of businesses surveyed, however, only 7.7% reported having workforce on furlough. The data also show that 43.6% of businesses surveyed have ‘high confidence’ that their business will survive the next three months. As such, this data shows how the virus has disproportionately affected specific sectors within the economy, particularly arts, entertainment and recreation, and accommodation and food service activities. It also shows that retail sales volumes saw an increase of 1.5% from August to September 2020 and was 5.5% higher than February 2020.
  • Maybe* data showing results from a survey of 11,000 shoppers. Results show that 29% of people surveyed say that safety will be the most important factor when deciding where to shop this Christmas. However, for 67% of shoppers, it’s Christmas as usual.
  • Footfall Forecasts and Patterns looking at the whole of UK as well as the signature types for towns. Annual patterns are obtained by grouping towns and cities into their town types (Comparison, Holiday, Multifunctional and Speciality). Then obtaining average annual patterns for each type, using forecast data for 4th November – 31st December.