LQM: Post Vaccine Confidence: Over-50s head to the park

New research has revealed the soaring number of over-50s enjoying their local parks and public spaces in the UK: the increase in visits among this age group is up two-thirds (66%) just since 14th March, and has almost doubled (up by 90% by the Easter weekend) in the 13 weeks since the start of the year.

This acceleration in parks’ usage is greatest for those aged 50 and over: rising at 51% more than those aged 30-40, and 85% more than those aged 20-30, having begun the year 17% below all other age groups.

It suggests that post-Covid vaccine confidence and the lessening of restrictions is sending older Britons outside to enjoy the country’s many green spaces – even though many of those areas have started to fill up with litter and trash since groups of six were permitted to meet outdoors.

The research was carried out by Huq Industries, an alternative data research business. Huq’s extensive dataset of real-time population mobility data, comprised of 1bn+ mobile geo-location data-points daily, is used by retailers, investors and the public sector to measure footfall across a range of consumer, business and industrial settings.

The findings highlight how those aged 50+, in particular, are keen to take advantage of the warming weather and spend more time outdoors. Until more younger people receive their first jab, it may be that older Britons will be the ones most likely to increasingly head out to their local parks.

Conrad Poulson, CEO of Huq Industries, notes: “The recent fine weather, combined with new confidence stemming from widespread vaccination among this age group, has encouraged those aged 50 and above to get out and enjoy the fresh air after a year of lockdowns – and shielding in many cases.

“With fresh government warnings issued today over the risks of relaxing lockdown measures, this trend offers a clue as to how people who have received vaccinations may come to view restrictions on movement even as other forms of leisure and retail are prohibited.

“It also offers a ray of hope for leisure and hospitality businesses as they re-open. Vaccinated people are looking to go outside and take advantage of the warmer weather and their new-found freedom. For example, this data should be especially well received by the hospitality industry, including restaurants and caf├ęs with outdoor seating and pubs with beer gardens.”

Huq measured mobile devices from its panel in 1,678 local parks and public spaces extracted from Open Street Map for the UK. Visits were filtered to only include those people resident within 2km of each park.