Post Pandemic Shift in City Centre Activity

Post Pandemic Shift in City Centre Activity

Workers are socialising and shopping less in the city centre now than before Covid according to the latest Your Dublin Your Voice survey.

Hybrid working sees shift in socialising

The survey, carried out in May, finds that a change in working patterns since the pandemic is influencing socialising patterns. 60% of workers indicated that they currently have hybrid arrangements with the typical week split evenly with 2.5 days on site and 2.5 days remotely. Workers, while on-site, continue to buy lunch, coffees, shop and go for drinks or dinner but there is a decrease in the frequency at which they do it. This is particularly pronounced when it comes to socialising in the city after work.

This change is also seen in a small but discernable shift in spending on socialising from the city to the suburbs. This in turn may by driven by the fact that although 75% of workers indicate that they work in the city on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, this drops to 48% on Fridays the traditional day for post work socialising. Overall workers are still socialising in the city but less frequently.

Online channels having an impact

The reduction in shopping in the city appears to be driven by a different, albeit Covid related, change. The survey highlights a significant shift to spending online for fashion, household durables and personal electronics with approximately a third of all spending on the first two through online channels and 46% of spending on the latter.

Since 2018, the rating for shopping in the City has fallen significantly from 78% to 57%. This fall is most likely influenced by both a deterioration in the perception that there is a good variety of shops (70% in 2018 to 49% currently) and the deterioration in people’s perception of safety in the city during the day (72% in 2018 to 67% currently).

Although 75% of workers indicate that they work in the city on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, this drops to 48% on Fridays, the traditional day for post work socialising.

Value for money

The negative trend in people’s perception of value for money for shopping and socialising surprisingly slowed in Dublin in 2024. That said, only 17% of people think that eating out is good value, followed by 14% for shopping and 6% for the pub. Respondents indicate that they are spending more socialising and shopping compared to last year but that in the next 12 months they intend to spend less, particularly in the pub.

Overall, the survey finds that Dubliners have a more negative view of their city than previously with those indicating that they feel it is vibrant falling from a high of 89% in 2018 to 53% currently. Meanwhile, safety, cleanliness and pedestrianisation are the top three suggestions when it comes to improving the attractiveness of the city, unchanged from 2022.

In a typical week, which days of the week do you work in the office / on site?

Economist, Dublin City Council

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