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A Tale of Five Cities (Chapter 1): The impact of COVID-19 on retail venues in London, New York, Berlin, Tokyo & Sydney

New research from Javelin Group (part of Accenture) explores the impact of COVID-19 on footfall in the retail venues of five major global cities—London, New York, Berlin, Tokyo and Sydney—across different stages of the pandemic. 

Using new generation geo-data (anonymised mobile geo-location data provided by Huq Industries) we explore consumer movement in and around a mix of representative commercial retail venues to answer questions such as: How quickly will the performance of my stores recover? What should the future shape of my store estate be? and How should we operate these stores differently vs. pre-COVID-19?

Our three waves of research will explore three phases of the pandemic—lockdown, recovery and the never normal.

Wave #1 – Lockdown: Explore the impact of lockdown based on a comparison of September 2019 data (our ‘pre-COVID’ baseline) with the March-April 2020 period when the five markets were in various forms of lockdown (output available now via our interactive dashboards )

Wave #2 – Recovery: Look at the period post-lockdown to see how commercial venues of different types recover as consumers start to re-emerge and engage again with retail and foodservice outlets (output expected in August/September 2020)

Wave #3 – Never Normal: Evaluate evidence for a new ‘status quo’ emerging in shopper movements (outputs expected in October/November 2020)

The initial research (Wave #1) shows how hard hit London has been compared to the other cities, with footfall down 77% in aggregate—vs. only a 16% impact in Tokyo. New York was the next most impacted city, with footfall levels down 61%. The data also shows a varying pattern of impact on different types of commercial venue, with retail park locations and neighbourhood centres experiencing a much lighter downturn than city centre, worker destination and travel hubs as consumers have adapted their behaviour. Will this shift become permanent? Our upcoming research waves will help to cast light on the new era of retail and where stores need to be to satisfy demand in a post-COVID world.

A Tale of Five Cities shows how the application of ‘new generation’ near real-time data feeds can help retailers, brands and landlords to better understand the fast-changing retail landscape, allowing them to deploy more agile strategies and to make better decisions to serve their customers from the right stores in the right venues based on the very latest data.

We will re-post to let you know when these research waves go live and our thoughts on what this means for the future of store-based retailing.

However, in the meantime, please take some time to have a look at the interactive dashboards for yourself at: or please get in touch for more information.