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01/04/2020 - News

Analysis from Ada shows true UK population movement during COVID-19

Market leading analysis from Ada, Talon’s proprietary intelligent data management platform has uncovered that the first two weeks in March had above average movement for the UK population before dramatically declining in the third week by -21% nationally, with London ahead of the curve in reduced population movement. 

The coronavirus pandemic has wrought massive change to the way people in the UK go about their lives. From implementing social distancing and working from home, to altering shopping and exercise habits, people’s journeys are different to what would traditionally be seen at this time of year.

Ada enables us to understand real audience movements and behaviours during these extraordinary times. The market leading Out of Home audience intelligence created by the Ada platform provides timely and valuable insights on the UK population’s response to the evolving pandemic. Providing a holistic view of the UK across all OOH formats, Talon is sharing these insights to support the wider industry through collaborative working.

Analysis of audience movements observed by Ada during March, showed that nearly all OOH environments and brick and mortar places of business, experienced above average foot traffic until 16th March. Despite risk levels for the virus being raised to ‘high’ from 12th March, large volumes of people were still leaving their homes until 22nd March.

By the third week of March, however, overall UK population movement had decreased significantly by -21%, with London dropping most sharply (-25%), in line with reports that people in the capital were responding faster to the increased virus threat than the rest of the UK. Roadside OOH audiences across the nation dropped by -11% with London once again declining faster with a -19% decrease. 

Across the London Underground and National Rail Networks, a decline in journeys was recorded from the first week in March by -11% and -2% respectively versus the baseline. There was a marked increase in rail usage through the second week, potentially driven by workers travelling to offices to collect equipment to facilitate working from home, however this decreased by -26% compared to the baseline by week three. London Underground equally saw a sharp decrease by week 3 decreasing by -45% versus the base line.   

Whilst overall visits to key places of business began to decline from the beginning of March, mall and supermarket environments reported above average footfall for the first two weeks of March. By week three however, malls had decreased by -31% where supermarkets saw a -15% drop. 

Sophie Pemberton, Group Strategy Director at Talon, commented: “This is a time of unprecedented change. Through Ada we are able to create a holistic view of the UK population, analysing data by format to truly understand the impact of COVID-19. Sharing these valuable insights with the industry will hopefully help us all to manage these uncertain times. We will continue to analyse the data and publish our findings.”

Ada receives billions of anonymised location data points every week which feed into smart algorithms and create valuable insights about UK audience behaviours. Aggregated on a weekly basis, Ada identifies the changes in roadside traffic, footfall to points of interest and public transport usage versus an average period, providing essential information to allow businesses to make more informed marketing decisions. The next data review will analyse the week commencing 23rd March, when enforced restrictions were put into place.