Google Mobility Index

Comparing visit numbers to sites such as retail and recreation locations with the pre-COVID average

The Google mobility index is based on data from users who have opted into location history for their Google account. For each day it compares the number of visits to different types of places with the average for that day during the first six weeks of 2020.

To provide data for the North East LEP area, indices for County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear have been given weightings based on their population size and then combined.  Weekly averages have also been calculated to provide comparisons of trends over a long time period, for example, between indexes for different local authorities or different location types. 

The retail and recreation mobility index provides information about visits to shopping centres, restaurants, cafés, theme parks, museums, libraries and cinemas but excludes visits to supermarkets and pharmacies. The index to 19th February suggests that: 

  • The latest (half-term) levels of visits to North East retail and recreation sites were slightly higher than in the preceding weeks of early 2021
  • they were still at only half the level they had been in the first six weeks of 2020
  • they were about 20 percentage points lower than in the days between Christmas and New Year
  • the weekly average was about 6 percentage points higher than those earlier in 2021 where levels had been at their lowest since early June
  • apart from half-term, 2021 averages have been about 10 percentage points lower than in the lock down period of November 
  • they have also also been more than 40 percentage points below their post-Covid peak in August
  • however, they have been over 10 percentage points higher than during the initial lockdown in April.

At a local level, the weekly average retail and recreation indices in the North East highlight that:

  • During half-term week, levels of retail and recreation visits increased in each North East local authority area
  • prior to half-term, visits of these types were at less than half their early 2020 levels in all seven
  • index values in early 2021 have been lowest in Newcastle and Gateshead, respectively, more than 70 and 60 per cent below early 2020
  • early 2021 visit levels in all seven areas were about 10 percentage points below those during the November lockdown period
  • retail and recreation visits in Gateshead, the location of the Metro Centre, have been particularly impacted by lockdown. The Gateshead index was among the highest in the North East in non-lockdown periods and among the lowest in November and early 2021.

The weekly average indices for different location types within the North East highlight that:

  • Levels of visits to supermarkets and public transport hubs were also slightly higher in half-term week
  • Before the latest week, in 2021, North East workplace visits have been at less than 60 per cent of levels in early 2020
  • this is more than 10 percentage points lower than in early December
  • workplace visit levels in 2021 have been more than 5 percentage points lower than in the November lockdown
  • prior to the latest week, visits to public transport hubs in 2021 were at levels about 10 percentage points below those in November
  • recent supermarkets and pharmacy visit levels have also been about 10 percentage points lower than in the previous lockdown
  • hours spent at home have been about 2 percentage points higher in the current lockdown than in November.

Retail and recreation visit daily index, most recent 8 weeks, North East LEP area

Last updated:
25/02/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 19th Feb 2021]

Data information: The number of retail and recreation visits for a specific day is expressed as an index compared to average visits for that day during the first six weeks of 2020. 

The North East LEP area index is based on a weighted combination of indices for Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear, with the weights based on population size.


Retail and recreation visit index, weekly average since Feb 2020, North East LEP area

Last updated:
25/02/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 19th Feb 2021]

Data information: The number of retail and recreation visits for a specific day is expressed as an index compared to average visits for that day during the first six weeks of 2020. The weekly average is calculated for the seven days up to and including the Friday named in the chart.

The North East LEP area index is based on a weighted combination of indices for Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear, with the weights based on population size. 


Retail and recreation visit index, weekly average since Oct 2020, North East local authority areas

Last updated:
25/02/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 19th Feb 2021]

Data information: The number of retail and recreation visits for a specific day is expressed as an index compared to average visits for that day during the first six weeks of 2020. 

The weekly average is calculated for the seven days up to and including the Friday named in the chart.


Visit indices by location type, weekly averages since Oct 2020, North East LEP area

Last updated:
25/02/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 19th Feb 2021]

Data information: The number of visits for each location type on a specific day is expressed as an index compared to average visits for that day during the first six weeks of 2020. The weekly average is calculated for the seven days up to and including the Friday named in the chart.

The North East LEP area indices are based on a weighted combination of indices for Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear for each location type, with the weights based on population size. 

The residence index is based on the number of hours at home rather than visit numbers.