How our community is responding to COVID-19

16 Mar 2020

Last week, we spoke to the brands and businesses currently in-residence to understand the effects they’re seeing of COVID-19 on retail. While these are tough times for most businesses, the resilience of those we spoke to adapt to uncertain times gave us a reason to be optimistic. We will continue our survey across the coming weeks and share our community’s advice and insights with you all here.


The key takeaways from our community: 9th - 13th March.

- Overall, 80% of brands we spoke to have seen a moderate drop in footfall of around 10-15% in the past two weeks compared to February.

- The industry’s currently hardest hit are fashion and entertainment with 70% of brands surveyed stating they had seen a decrease of footfall on average between 15-30% week on week.

- However, we have seen certain industries thriving in light of the crisis, for instance, electronics, bookshops and stores offering alternatives to public transport (such as e-scooters) have increased sales.

Neighbourhood stores and cafes appear to be more resilient in response to the crisis by catering to the local audience.

- The majority of neighbourhood stores we spoke to (salons, bookshops and cafes) have seen footfall stay flat or even slightly increase with consumers looking to prepare for a period of remote working.

“People are coming in and buying more books saying they're stocking up while they work from home or self-isolate” - The Broadway Bookshop

Whilst brands expect the situation to worsen, they are currently in a ‘consideration phase’ until there is more clarity in the next two weeks.

- Three-quarters of brands surveyed are expecting the situation to get worse over the coming two weeks

- 70% said they are expecting an increasing impact over the next two weeks, and starting to think about contingencies for staff travel and meetings.

What our community wants is insight and guidance from their peers in the midst of all of the “noise”.

- 80% of brands want to know how their peers are responding to the crisis

- 60% of brands said they are seeking reassurance or advice from experts

Over the coming week, we'll be inviting industry leaders in our community to share their advice, insight and best practices for navigating the current climate, stay tuned.