Festivals drive footfall

CACI’s research reveals Edinburgh festivals have bigger commercial impact than Christmas

As the UK festival season prepares to get underway, analysis by marketing technology and location planning specialist CACI has revealed the positive impact of major annual events on consumer behaviour. Using insight from its new customer, catchment and centre business intelligence platform, Location Dynamics, CACI has revealed the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe (both of which run from August 2 to 26 this year) create a commercial opportunity for retail and F&B businesses in the city bigger than Christmas in terms of consumer spend.

The Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe were attended by a combined 3.2 million people in 2018, effectively tripling Edinburgh’s catchment in size with people travelling from across the UK to visit. Outside the festival period, the majority of visitors to the city travel from within a 69-minute drive time, rising to 125 minutes during Christmas. This increases to 215 minutes in August

F&B spend increases significantly during the festivals compared to the rest of the year, driven by tourists, who are more likely to consume food and drink, with a 36% conversion rate versus 27% for residents.

Alex McCulloch, director of CACI Property Consulting Group, said: “For many years, the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe have anecdotally been referred to as the equivalent of a second Christmas for retailers and F&B operators in the city. Our analysis, however, has revealed the festivals are an even bigger commercial opportunity for businesses than Christmas due to their ability to attract tourists and encourage spend by residents.

“The significance of the findings however goes beyond Edinburgh too as they demonstrate the value for cities, and indeed the owners and managers of destinations in cities, of embracing culturally rich and diverse events.”

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