Shops, hotels and restaurants in Knightsbridge are preparing for strong Christmas trading, with visitor numbers predicted to surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time, bucking the national trend of struggling high streets and town centres.
Steeped in history and globally renowned as one of London’s most popular and vibrant neighbourhoods, Knightsbridge is home to world-class hospitality businesses, international fashion houses, as well as a luxury boutique and independent shops.
From landmark hotels such as the Mandarin Oriental and The Lanesborough to iconic department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols and luxury boutique stores including Burberry, Alpha Tauri, and Watches of Switzerland, the neighbourhood attracts huge numbers of visitors annually.
Sustained Footfall year-to-date above regional and national trends:
- Knightsbridge enters this Christmas period on firm foundations.
- From January to October 2023, footfall rose by an average of +27.7% from 2022, versus +8.2% in Greater London and +3.9% across UK high streets over the same ten-month period[i].
Footfall expected to surpass 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels in the final three months of the year:
- Footfall is expected to increase by +8% from October to November compared to the previous month, increasing by +48% from November to December.
- These rises will translate into an annual rise in Footfall in November of +2.8% and +3.3% in December.
- In both November and December, these annual rises in Footfall will be higher than the pre-pandemic 2019 level.
- Footfall levels are +2.2% higher than 2019 in November and +0.2% higher in December, in excess of pre-pandemic levels.
Spending is expected to increase by over 50% in December:
- Increased footfall leads to increased spending.
- In January – October 2023, average transaction values were 22% higher than the same period in 2019.
- Analysis of trends in 2019 and 2022 infer that Footfall during the Christmas period will lead to increases in sales in November (+20%) and December 2023 (+55%).
- Despite the clear recovery in sales and Footfall across both Knightsbridge, one caveat is that the average transaction value between January and October 2023 was –7.4 % below that in January – October 2022[ii]. This is in line with what some of the leading fashion houses have reported in recent months in terms of a general slowdown, in line with monetary and fiscal policy being adopted by central banks across the globe.
Steven Medway, CEO of Knightsbridge Partnership, said, “Knightsbridge’s recovery is due to a unique blend of factors that give it a trading advantage: it is an affluent residential neighbourhood, but the unique and significant appeal of Knightsbridge entices overseas tourists with experiences that can’t be found elsewhere.
We have seen the return to London of high-spending international shoppers this year, undoubtedly supported by a weaker pound than in pre-pandemic years, and this has enabled retail and hospitality to bounce back.
At the same time, however, its success could be even greater if growth measures such as the reintroduction of tax-free shopping were implemented, looking to the experience of rival markets on the continent.”
“Knightsbridge is also a commercial district in its own right, meaning that a resident business population generates daytime footfall and spend which otherwise might have gone elsewhere, and which support the area’s wealth of shops and restaurants.”
“We have also seen this year the growth of an intergenerational appeal of Knightsbridge as a destination for weekend breaks and shopping trips among cohorts such as Millennials and Generation Z.”
Diane Wehrle is an Insights Director and founder of Rendle Intelligence and Insights. She has been a top 100 global retail influencer in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and a leading analyst and commentator on retail and high street performance.
Commenting on her analysis, Diane said, “Footfall and sales in Knightsbridge are already strong, beating key benchmarks, which puts the District in a very positive trading position for this Christmas. The forecast uplifts in Footfall and sales are in line with past trends, which have seen significant increases in performance in what is genuinely a “golden quarter” for Knightsbridge.”
About the data
The data was supplied to the Knightsbridge Partnership by MRI OnLocation and by Beauclair. The data used concerned analysis of the ten months from January 2023 – October 2023 and the previous calendar year, as well as comparison versus pre-pandemic baselines of 2019.
- [i] Source: MRI OnLocation
- [ii] Source: Beauclair Ltd
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