Leading management and technology specialist for parking and visitor insight, GroupNexus, has identified that during the first week in July, motorway service station visits have now surpassed pre lockdown figures from the same period four months ago, showing an increase of 4.46%, whilst dwell time has decreased by 14% to 30mins, compared to pre-pandemic.
As lockdown restrictions have lifted, the data shows that traffic has migrated back to the motorways with even more visitors than before, and seemingly reflective of precaution measures, it appears people are less keen to dwell, with the most visits motivated by lunchtime hours between 12pm-2pm.
Comparing the week non-essential retail reopened with the week F&B reopened, highlights that visitor numbers have increased by 55% in the South West of the UK as the second wave of restrictions were eased, suggesting people are in search of more rural locations and an increased demand for a Great British staycation. Service stations in Scotland were 31% busier and 35% in Wales, with different restrictions in place in these areas, this could suggest that people were migrating over to England where restrictions had been eased.
GroupNexus’s proprietary enhanced data on retail car parks has also identified that owners of luxury cars and electric vehicles were venturing out in greater numbers when non-essential retail reopened on 15th June in comparison to when bars and restaurants reopened on 4th July, at which point volumes of such traffic decreased by 50%. This suggests an immediate release of pent-up demand by a higher-income demographic, with people keen to shop when fashion stores started opening; and correlates to reports of revenge spending. Total visit numbers in the week after Super Saturday were higher, but dominated by budget, mid-range and family cars, perhaps motivated by the ability to dine out, or grab a bite to eat while they shop.
Elli Morris, director at GroupNexus, said: “Analysing the figures, it is interesting to see how people are emerging from their homes as restrictions have been eased. The pent up frustration from lockdown seems to have led to an increase in footfall to ‘holiday’ locations, heralding the rise of the staycation. This surge in visitors will hopefully help boost local businesses, but while people are returning to a post-pandemic world, we have also learnt there is apprehension and the public are proceeding with caution.
“Businesses should take the provisions necessary to instil confidence and keep their visitors safe, and it is vital that they understand how this pandemic has impacted customer behaviour in the short-, medium- and long-term.
“We have worked hard to develop a platform that provides enriched parking and visitor insights to our clients; one we believe is pivotal in helping them develop a deeper understanding of behaviour, and ultimately the ability to use our cutting edge technology to communicate in real time with their customers to enhance the overall visitor experience. We are also working with our clients on some new tech initiatives that will assist them in managing the increased queues and social distancing measures.”