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Scotland Bucks National Trend with Increase in Town Centre Visitor Growth as National Report Shows Footfall Dropped Last Year Compared to 2022

Place Informatics, the leading provider of footfall and location visitor behaviour data monitoring in the UK, has published a national visitor data report to give an overview of how footfall across town centres in the UK compared in 2023 to 2022. The report showed an overall decline in UK footfall numbers last year but Scotlandbucked this trend with a 0.8% increase in visitors making it one of the highest-performing regions in the UK.
The Annual Report explores the footfall dynamics across 12 regions in the UK for the year 2023, with a specific emphasis on analysing fluctuations in foot traffic on an annual, quarterly, and monthly basis. The report also aims to offer a comparative analysis with footfall data from the year 2022.
The overall report shows that footfall across town centres has dropped slightly (-0.22%) in 2023 but the month-by-month analysis shows a much more interesting overview of how last year compared to 2022. Initially, the data shows a positive trend with an average increase of nearly 5% over the first six months of the year followed by a sharp decline in the second half of the year with November and December the worst-performing months in the UK with a drop of more than 5% compared to 2022.
The data shows a worrying trend for town centres with footfall dropping so much in the latter part of the year but certain regions across the UK actually showed substantial growth in 2023 with the South-West (4.57%) the best-performing region, followed by Wales (4.45%) and Scotland (0.8%). The breakdown of regional year-on-year footfall change can be seen below.
Regional Year-on-Year Change in Footfall Data 
Since 2015, Place Informatics has been at the vanguard of foot traffic data, answering business-critical questions about people’s interactions with various spaces such as town centres, retail outlets, tourist attractions, heritage sites, green spaces, events, and car parks. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning, the ‘big data’ solutions are helping to revolutionise the industry.
Clive Hall, CEO of Place Informatics, commented, “Our annual visitor behaviour data report shows some interesting trends across the UK. 2023 started positively with a significant increase in footfall across UK town centres but was followed by a sharp decline towards the end of the year. This is a concerning trend, especially for certain regions of the UK and local councils and businesses need to understand what caused this decline and how they can ensure this doesn’t continue in 2024.
Our data can help retailers, hospitality, councils and many other businesses and services understand how visitors are behaving, where visitors come from and most importantly what services they are utilising on their visit, including green spaces, car parks and public realms.”