Russia’s Watcom shopping index that measures foot traffic in the capital’s leading malls continues to close the gap on the pre-crisis 2019 levels but is still running at least 10% behind that level, according to Watcom’s latest numbers.
The index, which uses 3D cameras in malls to measure traffic in real time, posted 387 in the 26th week of this year (the first week of July), which was ahead of the 353 for the same week in 2020 but still well behind the 461 of that week in 2019, or 16% less.
Week 26 was significant in 2020 as the lockdown restrictions had been removed at the start of June and retail traffic came roaring back. By week 30 (July 20-26) foot traffic had regained the same levels as pre-crisis, although they fell off again in September as a second wave of infections struck.
This year foot traffic has recovered and is more steady but has been running at some 20-25% less than 2019 levels for all of the first half of the year. It wasn't until week 17 (the last week of April) that traffic stepped up again and was running at slightly more than 10% less than in 2019.
With Russia currently in the grip of a third wave of the virus that has seen daily infection rates jump to 20,000 a day – twice the rate as in the peak of the first wave – foot traffic may dip again in the coming month, and could even fall below the 2020 levels as well, if shoppers start to self isolate again.