THE “COVID IMPACT” ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IN SYDNEY’S RETAIL PRECINCTS OVER THE HOLIDAYS
SYDNEY CBD RETAIL VS. CHATSWOOD, BONDI JUNCTION AND PARRAMATTA PRECINCTS
Using the Pathzz location intelligence platform we analysed four major shopping precincts in Sydney: Sydney’s CBD, Chatswood, Bondi Junction and Parramatta over the holiday shopping periods “Pre-COVID” (November – December 2019) and “Post COVID” (November – December 2020) to compare the YOY results.
Nov 2019 - Dec 2020
We observed a 47% drop in visits to the Sydney CBD Retail precinct between the Pre-COVID and Post COVID shopping period. Bondi Junction and Parramatta retail precincts dropped only by 19% and 8% respectively. Chatswood saw an increase of 30% YOY
Between all 4 retail precincts Sydney CBD represented 37% of visits in the Pre-COVID shopping period and dropped to 23% YOY whereas Chatswood grew from 17% to 28% and Bondi grew by 2% to 22% YOY
COVID restrictions ultimately changed the way businesses operate, causing many people who would normally work in Sydney City elect to work-from-home (WFH) on selected days, or cease work in the city as businesses reduced their work force. This took many people away from the CBD retail precinct permanently or partially, giving CBD retailers less foot traffic
The Sydney city worker or job seeker visited the CBD less frequently due to WFM or ceased employment and kept to their local and regional shopping centres represented by Chatswood and Bondi receiving a greater share of visits between the four retail precincts: Chatswood even experienced a growth in visits, showing the highest share of visits and growth in visits between the four.
Visits by Day
The top performing days for visits in the Sydney CBD precinct during the Pre-COVID shopping period were Monday and Friday and during the Post COVID shopping period were Wednesday and Thursday
Visits to the Sydney CBD on Monday, Tuesday and Friday dropped by an average of 7.50% YOY, and Wednesday and Thursday grew by an average of 8.20%
It appears that a significant number people employed by companies with offices in the city adopted a mix between WFM and putting in office hours. The data indicates that more people are choosing to work from the CBD during Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Visits to the Sydney CBD Retail precinct by people aged 20-34 were down by an average of 15% YOY, however visits from people aged 40-59 increased by an average of 30%. Chatswood and Bondi Retail precincts had an increase in visits in these age groups by an average of 20%
Visits to Parramatta by people aged 20-24 increased by 13.5%.
We believe that young people who were employed in the city visit less frequently or not at all due to WFM and companies reducing their workforce (retail to office employees). Similarly, people over 40 who likely retained their employment visited their offices situated in the city at a steady pace and as a result visited the Sydney CBD Retail precinct more frequently than other age groups. This is supported by an increase in the number of people driving to the city by 7%, as businesspeople working in the city will likely have parking provided by their employers
It also appears that young people are favouring their local, regional and super-regional shopping centres as seen in the spike in 20-24 year old visitors going to Parramatta. This could mean that more young people formerly working in the city at a lower frequency or not at all live outside of Chatswood, Sydney City, and Bondi.
In summary, the changes to consumer behaviour as a result of COVID are significant and far reaching. Learning what the changes to consumer behaviour are and how they relate to your business, your clients’ and competitors’ businesses is paramount to developing strategies to adapt to the new business environment brought on by COVID and succeed.
By the Pathzz Insights team January 2021.
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