Foot traffic activity hardly budged since May 2021, according to Springboard’s Downtown Pedestrian Traffic, January 2023 Report.
In November, the index found that over half of all consumers work from home for at least part of the week, the same as in May 2021.
Downtown pedestrian traffic volume is growing incrementally, especially during nighttime, but overall it is still well below pre-pandemic volume. Springboard said traffic was -19.7% below 2019 over the 24/7 period, versus -21.2% below 2019 in December 2022, the second smallest gap recorded since the pandemic.
Weekend foot traffic is increasing at a greater rate than during weekdays.
Evening traffic (midnight to 6 a.m.) was just -1.1% below the 2019 level in January, indicating that business operations have largely returned to normal.
Much of this traffic is driven by supply and servicing activity, which indicates that business operations have largely returned to normal, a positive sign for the long-term recovery of downtowns, Springboard’s marketing & insights director, Diane Wehrle, said in the report.
“At the same time, however, the evidence points to a permanent shift in the usage of downtowns moving forward, which will ultimately act as a catalyst for business owners and managers to adapt their operations if they are to prosper in the post-COVID downtown, Wehrle said.
“This is a positive sign for the long-term recovery of downtowns but should be a catalyst for business owners and managers to adapt their operations if they are to prosper in the post-COVID downtown.