Data shows big rise in activity in small towns since Covid

New data shows that smaller towns are benefiting from the drop in commuting since Covid as more people work remotely or in a hybrid way.

London

 

People are working more from smaller towns and commuting less to larger urban areas since Covid, according to a new analysis which suggests the level of the shift to remote or hybrid working since the pandemic.

The analysis of mobile phone activity in over 500 high streets by Visitor Insights and PLACEMAKE.IO shows increased activity in smaller towns over the 2019-2022 period and decreased activity in major urban areas, such as London.

City of London visits are down by over 55%, visits to Glasgow fell by nearly 39% and to Leeds by almost 40% while visits to high streets in smaller areas is up significantly, for instance, to Rainham in Essex they are up by nearly 93%, to Peacehaven near Brighton they are up by over 85% and to Kirkby in Merseyside they are up by nearly 160%.

PLACEMAKE.IO founder Chlump Chatkupt told BBC News: “The places that have thrived have a more balanced, diverse mix of office, residential and retail.

“Residents are spending more time at home and in their local community and finding they can do a lot without venturing too far out.”

A separate study by PLACEMAKE.IO and also CBRE Investment Management, due to be published as a white paper soon, looks at the mid-workweek in London based on TfL payment-taps data from early 2020 to late 2022.  It found that, while footfall has dropped in the City overall, there is a difference of up to 9% between midweek and full week footfall, with midweek footfall being higher. This suggests more people are working from home on Mondays and Fridays since Covid.



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