A new project will use 1,000 SmartStreetSensors to track the changing patterns of high street footfall across the UK.
The Local Data Company is working with University College London (UCL) and the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) on the project, described as the most comprehensive of its kind, covering 81 towns and cities across the UK.
The locations have been selected to offer a wide geographical spread, different demographic profiles and a range of town centre profiles, based on health and occupancy.
The project, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, aims to provide an accurate, data-driven picture of the changing way customers shop and use high street locations. It will be rolled out to shopping centres and retail parks at a later date.
SmartStreetSensor partners include Jack Wills, Superdrug, Dixons Carphone, Aldi and Oxfam, as well as restaurants and cafes including Patisserie Valerie, Tortilla and Pret a Manger.
“We think this project is an excellent example of how the worlds of academia and business can work together in the era of big data,” said Paul Longley, director of ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre at UCL. “The same data that can tell a retailer how footfall translates into sales at the till can also contribute to a far better understanding of how people move around Britain’s towns and cities.”
Matthew Hopkinson, director at Local Data Company, added: “The current generic footfall numbers do not provide the breadth or depth of coverage that retailers need to understand the performance of their shops.
“Pavement opportunity is what this data will show, and that is what retailers and leisure operators can influence, and therefore relate back to store sales.”