by Ian Hughes
2nd December 2020


If you’re anything like me, you see a whole bunch of tables, graphs, charts and forecasts and you begin to mentally switch off. But when you couple this with analysis and real-time feedback from an array of industry professionals, each with different perspectives and insights, you get something much more engaging.

When the covid-19 pandemic began to completely turn the tables on the world’s economy, back in March, existing economic forecasts became almost obsolete. The world’s markets witnessed sudden seismic shifts and new metrics and forecasts, with real time insights, were needed fast.

International commercial property and professional services firm, Avison Young, rose to the challenge with a distinct goal in mind – To examine all available data to help chart, predict and aid UK cities’ economic recovery.

Avison Young’s UK Cities Recovery Index monitors the diversity of market activity and the speed and trajectory of the recovery following the ongoing impact experienced across our cities as a result of covid-19.

The research helps to examine the way in which covid-19 is impacting the UK’s major cities. It enables up-to-date assessments and analysis of the rate and trajectory of recovery for Liverpool and identifies trends that may determine the future economic performance of the city.

The Liverpool MIPIM December 1st 2020 webinar: ‘Liverpool – A City at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery’ hosted an introduction to this new research, from Daryl Perry, Avison Young’s Head of Research.

Daryl was joined by moderator, Stephen Cowperthwaite, Principal and MD of Avison Young, Liverpool & Liverpool MIPIM Steering Group Chair, Martin Thompson, Head of Policy at Liverpool City Council, Bill Addy, Chief Executive Officer of Liverpool BID Company and Donna Howitt, Marketing and Communications Director, Liverpool One.

To hear full details of the findings of this research, alongside insights and updates from the rest of the panel, watch the webinar recording below or read on for a summary of highlights from the panel’s response to the research.


Daryl Perry, Head of UK Research, Avison Young


“The first city to submit its Economic Recovery Plan to government in June, Liverpool has been at the forefront of economic recovery since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic and is showing signs of resilience.

“The resilience of Liverpool during the crisis has been highlighted by the Recovery Index. The strength of the commercial activity and mobility sector indices stand out as key areas which have supported the city during this period.

“Although Liverpool was the first major city to be placed in tier three under the English government’s approach to local restrictions, mass testing is currently being piloted in Liverpool, there is now evidence that this has helped to drive down covid-19 cases by around two thirds over the past month.”


Martin Thompson, Head of Policy at Liverpool City Council


“Six weeks ago, Liverpool had the highest rate infection rate in the country, reaching up to about 700 people. Yesterday, I heard that we’re now at below 100 people and this is a remarkable achievement. The other significant thing about the mass testing pilot that was done in Liverpool is its impact on our relationship with national government.

“The government’s winter covid strategy speech mentioned Liverpool four times during the Prime Minister’s introduction and some might say that in the past the city has never been a favourite of the national government, but we’re in a really interesting period right now.

“We were the first major city to deliver an economic recovery plan, which was submitted to government towards the end of May and we have lots of interesting ideas that we’re still discussing with government.

“Through initiatives like ‘Without Walls’ we were able to quickly form new partnerships between the public and private sector and we’ve shown great ingenuity and flexibility. Liverpool’s always swift out of the blocks. Things are looking positive and to have that strong relationship and ongoing dialogue with government is a great position to be in.”


Donna Howitt, Marketing and Communications Director, Liverpool ONE


“It’s been turbulent on the high-street. It is a challenge, as it is will all sectors. But it’s really important that we step back and look at what we’ve learnt from coming out of first-phase lockdown.

“On the 15th June non-essential retail opened back up and in July we gradually saw volumes of city centre shoppers starting to increase, restaurants could re-open and the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme became available and it almost felt as if life was starting to get back towards some degree of normality.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of August footfall in Liverpool was at the same level as it was in August 2019, which was fantastic to see. Younger people we’re the first to return, alongside pockets of more mature people. We are now able to demonstrate as a city that there is real quantifiable confidence and resilient in the marketplace here.

“This is the insight that we need and that we can use. We know that the Liverpool City Region is a place with a personality and a reputation and that there’s a narrative here that people understand very often in a positive light and sometimes in a light that challenges us as a city region.

“Having the ability to access the newest, most relevant data that we’ve started to gather – literally throughout the last three months – is fundamental, in terms of reinforcing some of the great things about our region, but also to use it to challenge some of the other perceptions and misconceptions that are out there.

“We have been able to demonstrate that we are a city region that collaborates, has strong leadership and is very good at building relationships, through regular dialogue across many partners and businesses.

“There’s been some green shoots of recovery appearing. In Liverpool ONE, as we came out of lockdown, we still opened an additional five brands. Even this week, as we go into tier two, we’ll be opening three new brands, that have never traded in Liverpool before and one of them is leisure. It’s the most challenging time for this sector, but these brands want to be in Liverpool and that’s fantastic.

“What we’ve seen is that people are spending less on fuel, they’re spending less on holidays but they still want to spend and when they’re given the opportunity, they chose to spend it on lifestyle and short stays.

“Liverpool’s hoteliers are starting to see a real lift as we move into tier two and that’s because people are choosing Liverpool, because of its reputation and because of the fact that throughout the whole period, despite being the first region to go into tier three, we have demonstrated through all of our planning and extensive mass-testing, that safety does come first.


Bill Addy, Chief Executive Officer of Liverpool BID Company


“The resilience we have in Liverpool is clearly shown in the data. The footfall figures that we have in the city showed that footfall bounced back up in July and August, bringing us to -25% on the usual figures. So instead of 1.25 million our footfall in the city centre was 1.1 million and that was at the height of Liverpool’s ‘Without Walls’ outdoor dining initiative, to help restaurants open safely.

“That footfall was also measured in the spend figures that we have. The Q3 Visa data showed that our Visa spend went from £34.5 million in Q3 2019 spent on restaurants compared to Q2, at the height of lockdown, it was £2.4 million. By Q3 spend in total became £63.3 million in the L1 and L2 postcodes, with similar spikes for clothing and retail sales, over the same period. This shows that Liverpool has bounced back and can bounce back again, if the conditions are right.



Planning, partnerships, preparation and acting fast to reopen safely have enabled Liverpool City Region to rally against the harmful economic impacts of covid-19. Mass-testing, mass-collaboration and amassing and analysing huge amounts of data continue to help Liverpool to effectively strategise to mitigate future economic decline.

Reliable, real-time research, be it tables, graphs, charts or forecasts, make all the difference, especially when combined with the powers of Liverpool City Region’s dedicated business community and leadership team. Big thanks to all our panel and Avison Young for their stellar research. Acting smarter is informed by the data and data is driving Liverpool’s recovery.

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on future Liverpool MIPIM webinars.

Ian Hughes
Ian Hughes
Marketing Manager
2nd December 2020