In this 2023 Consumer Insights blog, you’ll discover an overview and key insights on footfall, consumer behaviour and tourist activity – and the opportunities for retail and real estate leaders.

Download the full 2023 Consumer Insights Report to learn:

  • The biggest growth and decline centres year-over-year according to footfall.
  • The types of centres with significant footfall increases and decreases.
  • An understanding of consumer behavioural shifts in 2023.
  • Days/weeks with the largest average footfall increases and decreases over the year
  • How to pinpoint peak and low traffic periods, that can benefit your business.

Hybrid working impacts commuter patterns

Thursdays are the new Fridays. And the biggest commuter day. Thursday commutes are up 29% on last year, with a 9% increase on other weekdays. The biggest commuter cities? Unsurprisingly London, but also Liverpool and Bristol.

Using catchment data, hospitality and pop-up retailers can redistribute staff to commuter areas, reducing staffing costs and personalise marketing with targeted product lines.

Coffee makes the commute

As a nation of coffee drinkers, grabbing a coffee-to-go has become an essential step in the morning routine. So what’s the big trend in the ubiquitous and resilient coffee shop market? Of the major coffee shop chains, Pret a Manger and Costa share more than 50% of all activity across the UK. Real estate investors and portfolio managers take note – where there is coffee, there are people, and so seeking out the most popular coffee brand locations could be fruitful.

Record breaking weather

2023 was a record year for weather. Following the driest February in 30 years, March beat the record for the wettest in 40 years. The weather yo-yo throughout the year inevitably impacted football with poor weather accounting for fewer shoppers hitting the towns, high streets, and retail parks. With the hottest June on record, the good weather and drop in food prices gave retail sales a welcome boost as consumers flocked to buy summer essentials. A wet July saw in–store sales dip as consumers switched to online shopping (27.4% of retail sales took place online), resulting in the biggest decline in footfall (30 July 2023). September was the worst overall month for shopping, preceded by the year’s best, in August. In September, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that sales of non-food items were in decline year-on-year, and had decreased 1.2% on a total basis over the three-months leading in.

The heat wave that hit the UK in early September saw people fleeing to coastal towns to escape the heat, resulting in autumn sales taking a hit. Knitwear, autumnal clothing and coat sales failed to materialise at their usual point in the retail calendar. And, of course, the cost of living crisis was forever bearing down on households, with furniture and electricals down against typical performance at this time of year. Storm Babet and flash flooding caused the wettest October since 1838, hitting footfall hard. Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC said it was “brollies up, footfall down.”

By November things started looking up with the biggest average increase in footfall on the first of the month. Retailers reportedly invested heavily in their Christmas offerings – despite increases in utilities and supply chain costs – in an attempt to drive consumers back to the high street by enticing the festival footfall earlier.

The volatility of the economic climate combined with unexpected weather conditions caused uncertainty within the retail and real estate sectors. Brands looking to capitalise on consumer spend must prioritise personalised special offers and targeted marketing based on visit time, demographic insights and catchment data.


We’ve looked at how the year fared in terms of the impact that weather, the confidence of the household purse, and industry variance, had on the physical footfall, density, catchment and dwell data of 2023. What this could mean for retail leaders and real estate investors is in how you now use the intelligence within our full year-end report – including region specific recaps – to set up 2024 for success.