The first of what is to be a series of monthly reports assessed the UK’s 10 most populous cities over the four weeks to 15 January 2022, including the crucial festive season.
Leeds was just -0.2% down on the same period in 2019 followed by Glasgow, Bristol and Birmingham, which also put in a good performance following the pandemic.
Highlighting the severe impact of work-from-home instructions and reduced visitor numbers in the capital London finishes bottom, having suffered a -19% drop in sales
Wireless Social’s data shows check-ins in London were 43% lower than over the same period two years ago.
Sales and log-ins were down on pre-Covid levels in other major British cities. However, separate research from CGA has indicated that while visitor numbers have dropped in recent months, average spend has increased slightly, and consumer confidence has increased since the end of 2021.
CGA’s client director Chris Jeffrey said: “It has been an immensely difficult two years for hospitality businesses in city centres, and these vibrancy figures reveal the damaging impact that COVID constraints have had on footfall and sales in late 2021 and early 2022. With restrictions hopefully now behind us and many workers returning to offices, we should see British cities start to return to pre-COVID norms in consumer activity over the course of this year.”
Julian Ross, founder and CEO of Wireless Social, said: “With the Plan B measures behind us, it’s vitally important that the sector is able to build back and develop in a restriction-free environment. The findings from this inaugural Vibrancy report are sobering, especially with the lens focused on London, but as we’ve seen time and again over the last two years, pent-up consumer demand combined with decreasing COVID case numbers, does positively impact activity across hospitality venues.
"Going out and supporting hospitality is more important than ever, with stark increases in business rates, VAT and energy bills around the corner, so we’re hopeful that our next report will see a significant improvement in activity.”
The ‘Top Cities: Vibrancy ranking report’ is based on a combination of sales data from analyst CGA’s Managed Volume Pool of more than 8,000 pubs, bars and restaurants, and guest Wi-Fi, analytics and marketing solutions specialist Wireless Social’s guest data gathered from more than one million logins.