We need to capitalise on growth in footfall on our High Streets
THE latest report from Springboard, the company that measures footfall on High Streets across the UK, arrived on our desk a few days ago.
We have two footfall counters in Southport (one at the junction of Nevill Street and Lord Street outside Waterstones and one at the southern end of Chapel Street) and the data they capture allows us to make comparisons against what’s happening in other coastal resorts and across the UK in general.
The report makes interesting reading as well as providing some fascinating data on our shopping habits over this year’s Easter holiday.
One of the more interesting trends – and this continues the trend that we saw at Christmas – is that retail parks and shopping centres nationally continued to show a decline in footfall of -2.3% and -8.0% respectively whilst our High Streets recorded an overall rise of just over 1%.
Not a massive increase I agree but perhaps the start of a longer trend and a further demonstration of the growing resilience of High Streets in general.
One statistic did stand out: footfall post 5pm on our High Streets rose by over 10% clearly showing that those town centres that provide a diverse variety of evening and night time entertainment do succeed in attracting new custom.
Easter Sunday, whilst not a traditional trading day, also saw an increase in footfall on High Street driven in part by an increasing number of town centres that stage events on that day.
Here in Southport we would normally expect to see large numbers of visitors enjoying the beach, parks, and Marine Lake.
What we will be doing next year is to bring more of these people into the town centre itself by staging our own Easter events.
Nevertheless daytime footfall continues to be hit by the rise in online transactions.
The volume of online transactions made between 9am and 5pm rose by 5.4% nationally again showing that an increasing number of us prefer to shop using the internet.
Much of this activity is now done using mobile phones.
Of the three online channels (mobile, PC and tablet) mobile transactions saw a rise of just under 13% compared to 4.7% on tablets.
The good old computer showed a decline of just under 10%.
I wonder just how many of us go into shops to check out a particular product and then use our mobile phone to search out the best deal and then pay for it online?
A copy of the report will be posted on the BID website www.southportbid.com
Chapel Street in Southport, where footfall is measured