High Streets Task Force PRDG June 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 June 2020 insight report includes significant detail on high street footfall, business impacts, social media and sentiment data and mobility data. 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 June 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)
  • 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, but there was a spike on 15thJune 2020 when non-essential shops re-opened as footfall was up 48.6% compared to same figure the previous week. Multifunctional centres saw the highest increase in footfall on this day, up 52.7% compared to same figure previous week, whilst holiday towns saw the lowest increase, up 44.1% compared to same figure previous week.
  • Data for footfall recovery in England demonstrating that on Monday 15thJune 2020, footfall was 49.4% of the volume it was on Monday 17th June 2019. There was an ‘opening up effect’: footfall was 15% lower on Tuesday 16thJune 2020 than on Monday 15th. Footfall in London (and other major cities) is much lower than in towns and districts. So, on average, towns outside London saw footfall on Monday 15thJune 2020 return to around 65% of 2019 volumes.
  • ONS data showing the business impact of COVID-19 in the UK, including a fall in turnover for 61.9% of businesses surveyed and 36% laying off staff. This data also 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 how non-food stores have record low sales during April, especially textile, clothing and footwear stores had the largest fall in the volume of sales at negative 50.2%.
  • Maybe* data demonstrating that since lockdown, the % of organisations active on social media has fallen dramatically, a consistent trend across the UK. A survey conducted with shoppers also indicates that, despite 90% of respondents reporting they will return to high street shops, 47% feel nervous about shopping again.
  • PwC consumer sentiment data showing that, despite the continuing lockdown and economic uncertainty, many UK consumers have disposable money and are willing to spend. Also, shopping locally and ethically continues to be increasingly important, with more people wanting to support independent retailers.
  • Google Mobility data illustrating that more people are visiting parks across the countries presented, especially during public holidays. However, despite re-opening non-essential shops, mobility remained steady in all the five countries in the other categories.