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How store visitor numbers plummeted as coronavirus hit

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New data shows the scale of how quickly and how far visitor numbers to stores have plummeted as coronavirus hit.

Figures from retail intelligence business Springboard suggest that footfall last week fell by 21.7% compared to the previous week, and by 28% compared to the previous year.

High streets were hit the hardest, with footfall down by 31% from the week before and by 41% year-on-year as non-essential stores started to close their doors. Shopping centres also saw heavy losses, with visitor numbers down by 20.3% week-on-week (WOW) and 25.4% year-on-year (YOY).

Retail parks (-2.9% on the previous week and on the previous year) escaped the worst, with supermarkets helping to maintain visitor numbers as shoppers stocked up – and panic bought. 

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The decline in footfall week-on-week was on a par with the drop normally only ever seen in the week post-Christmas. The annual change represented an unprecedented decline in retail footfall that was three times greater than the worst result we have ever previously recorded.”

Springboard says the deterioration changed day by day. Last Sunday, overall footfall was down by 18.2% WOW and 22.9% YOY, but by Saturday it was down by 38% WOW and 48% YOY. 

Retail parks saw an increase in visitor numbers between Monday and Thursday, at an average 2.5% WOW, and 3.3% YOY. By Friday panic buying started to subside, with footfall down on both Friday and Saturday compared to the previous week and to the previous year. Saturday retail park footfall was down by 13.4% on the previous week, and by 18% on the previous year. 

Across the country, London was hit the hardest by falling footfall, with visitor numbers down by 63.3% in central London, compared to the previous year, but by 21.9% in outer London. 

Image: Adobe Stock

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