High Streets Task Force PRDG September 2021 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 September 2021 insight report includes significant detail on high street footfall, business impacts, and social media sentiment data. It is available as a PDF, as a PowerPoint presentation and video recording.

Date added 16 September 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 September 2021 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
  • Centre for Towns (CfT)
  • 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 three versions: PDF report (attached above), PowerPoint presentation (click here) and video recording (click here). This month's data pack includes:

  • Footfall data for the UK demonstrating that it has been falling since the end of February 2020 and that footfall on the 13th September 2021 was down 25.1% compared to the same day in 2019, and down 6.4% compared to the same day last week.
  • Review of data by Springboard looking at footfall, retail sales, vacancy rates and consumer confidence.
  • Maybe* data showing high street social media activity and sentiment data from locations found on Google Maps looking at handles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • ONS data showing the business impact of COVID-19 in the UK. Data shows 89.8% of businesses surveyed are currently trading, and only 6.3% had staff on furlough. 28.0% of surveyed businesses did report that their turnover had decreased compared to what is normally expected for this time of year. In July 2021, retail sales volumes fell by 2.5% compared to June 2021. However, volumes were in fact 5.8% higher when compared with February 2020 pre-lockdown level.