Driving activity jumps by 11%

[2nd April]

Again this week we are reporting an uplift in driving activity across Northern Ireland. Average driving activity (Apple) is now at 109% of the baseline, up 11% week on week. This reflects the higher level of mobility generally across Northern Ireland. While the data accounts for some increases as a result of trips due to schools returning, the highest day for driving in the last week was Wednesday 31st, peaking at 122% of the pre-pandemic baseline.

Restrictions have also started to ease, taking a slow and cautious approach. This week, we saw outdoor sporting facilities, including golf clubs and football pitches. Garden centres can also now operate click and collect services, an addition to the existing list of retailers. There is another review of the restrictions due after Easter, with the expectation that additional relaxations will follow. This adds to the volume of journeys undertaken, at every step audiences are exposed to Out of Home campaigns.

In 2020, restrictions were relaxed more rapidly, however using our interactive chart below, it’s evident to see the surge in mobility following the changes. While we’re not seeing travel figures as low this year as we did 12 months ago, we would expect to see a similar trend with continued uplift in driving activity.

Grocery footfall stays high

Looking to pedestrian activity (Google), there is little change in the activity around Grocery and Pharmacy locations as essential retailers remain open. Average footfall in these locations was 99% of the baseline, up 3% week on week. Workplaces too saw an increase of 7%, bringing the weekly average to 63%. This is likely due to the wider availability of click and collect services bringing employees into town and city centres, typically areas of high employment.

Parks and recreation locations, such as beaches will always see a drop in audience movement when weather is poor. Despite the clocks changing to give an extra hour of daylight, Sunday 28th saw persistent rain across much of NI, causing a steep decline in footfall in these locations. Despite this, activity remained close to the baseline, at 98%. Retail and recreation locations are mostly closed, so mobility remains static with a decline of 1% week on week to an average footfall at 55% of the baseline.