Like many shopping strips around the world, the pandemic hit Orchard Road hard – but where has the impact been felt the most? Our human movement data (HMD) tool helps provide answers.
Cistri has analysed how visits to Orchard Road have changed over the last two years. The ups and downs of different time periods, the seasonality of visitation.
Forget what the naysayers tell you – Orchard Road is one of Asia’s largest, strongest, and best-known retail precincts. Only a few retail precincts around the world can compare in terms of breadth and depth of retailers.
Before the pandemic Orchard Road was a popular tourist destination. Cistri estimates tourists generated 30 – 35% of retail sales on Orchard Road before COVID-19. Moreover, contrary to urban myth, Orchard Road remains very popular with many Singaporean shoppers.
After COVID-19 began, this popularity became a double-edged sword. The combination of circuit breaker lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and the locking out of tourists has had an outsized impact on Orchard Road’s businesses.
In a precinct as large and disparate as Orchard Road, it’s sometimes difficult to measure overall impact. No two shops or malls are the same, so anecdotal evidence will tell you only so much. Official statistics don’t help much either as retail sales data do not have geographic granularity.
Some of the results of our HMD analysis are truly remarkable and show the challenge facing Orchard Road businesses:
- At its worst, the pandemic reduced visitor numbers to a third of its peak in December 2019. April, May and June 2020 were the worst, July and August 2021 in similar positions.
- The recovery after the circuit breaker was only partially achieved. Since April 2020, visitations have reached only 2/3 of their peak in December 2019.
- On average, 2021 was worse than 2020. The monthly visit rate between January and October 2021 was below the average between April and December 2020.