We need a proper analysis of footfall in post-epidemic Edinburgh - Kevin Buckle

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I’m not sure if the footfall I am seeing in the shop is representative of visitors to Edinburgh in general but I’m certainly seeing a different pattern to previous years.

Now these last few years have hardly been normal but I still think there has been a noticeable change this year towards more UK visitors and indeed most of that increase appears to be from Northern England.

While this may to some extent seem quite logical I remember being surprised how many people were from the States and Europe despite the rules and restrictions after it became possible for visitors to come to the UK again after the lockdown ended.

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This of course is not a scientific sample but customers very regularly make conversation about where they are from so I am not guessing about how the shop’s footfall is made up.

Record players seem to have been a popular present again this yearRecord players seem to have been a popular present again this year
Record players seem to have been a popular present again this year

One thing I would say is there has been a huge increase in people asking for a ticket to the Christmas Market rather than saying Princes Street and while the criteria for previous markets being praised so highly in the media is dubious there is no avoiding the fact that people do pay attention to the claims which often are based more on how nice Edinburgh is as a city than on the market itself.

The period between Christmas and New Year is always a good time for the shop and more so since we moved to Waverley Market as the high spending customers we get from abroad seem to prefer to spend Christmas at home and then come to Edinburgh for Hogmanay. That of course may still happen and I did see that over half of the 30,000 tickets sold for the street party were for those outside of Scotland.

I’m certainly very happy with the number of local customers we have had since Christmas covering all bases from families to young couples and those out with friends. Record players seem to have been a popular present again this year and we have had lots of people come in on recommendation from others, which is always nice to hear.

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I’ll be interested to see what analysis is available from Essential Edinburgh about these last few months, though I doubt it will go beyond general footfall when what is needed is serious analysis of how the footfall is made up.

Certainly before Covid customer spending had increased every year on hospitality and decreased on retail which was not a good sign for shops so it would be interesting now to see a breakdown of spending in this new post-epidemic world.

From what I hear the Old Town shops are very quiet and would be glad to have footfall wherever the people come from. I do hope that this long term problem is something that is finally addressed in 2023.

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