On Wednesday 26th March, teachers across the UK went on strike over working conditions, causing distruption across the country. Hundreds of schools were forced to close, meaning thousands of children received an impromptu day off – a headache for parents but a bonus for retailers and vendors.
Socio-political issues such as strike action might not immediately spring to mind as a footfall influence, but events in the news agenda can have a major impact on consumer behaviour. During previous industrial action by teachers in October 2013, the regions in which teachers went on strike experienced a 12% – 14% increase in shoppers.
In the case of this week’s strikes, London’s Charing Cross station served as a meeting point for teachers leading a protest march, making trains and concourse outlets busier than usual. Many parents taking the day off to look after their children embarked on impromptu shopping trips, meals out and family-friendly activities, while working parents unable to arrange childcare at short notice had to cater for their youngsters during lunch breaks.
As a result, Experian FootFall’s Daily Index detected a 14.4% rise in UK retail footfall this week compared to last – a 0.5% increase on the same week last year:
Looking at activity on a regional level shows this even clearer, with a pronounced uplift on week-on-week activity, measuring between 12-21%:
Though retailers can’t predict strike action, keeping an eye on the news agenda can give you the power to plan for a potential spike in customer footfall to maximise sales conversions.
Experian FootFall offers daily insights on market conditions using our specialiced National and Regional Indices, and you can keep up with the latest happenings by subscribing to our monthly newsletter, The FootSee.