FY 2021 GB Retail and Leisure Report: An interview with Dojo
Date published: Date modified: 2022-03-29

Dojo is a leading fintech company that specialises in providing card payment solutions to small and medium-sized businesses across the UK. They process over 100 million transactions every month for their customers and develop tools that help take the hassle out of running a business.

After the release of our FY 2021 GB Retail and Leisure Report, we caught up with Jonathan Knott, Head of Customer Insight at Dojo, to reflect on the findings and what they mean for 2022.

JK headshot2021 was an incredibly varied year in terms of final lockdowns, staggered market re-opening, and a return to office working for some. How has this been reflected in your data in terms of spending patterns and transaction volumes?

We’ve observed spending increases across retail, hospitality, and service sectors whenever restrictions have been lifted over the last couple of years, which suggests consumer demand for spending on the high-street remains.
In fact, our measurement suggests that demand for these high-street experiences is now higher than it was pre-Covid. There’s a newfound appreciation for in-person occasions, as these experiences were what people missed the most during COVID restrictions. Added to this, we see in our data a clear willingness amongst consumers to spend more money in return for a memorable experience, which is, therefore, a huge opportunity for brands to capitalise on.

The impact of home working, in particular, is evident in our data with rising vacancy around areas with high office density. What have you seen in terms of challenges to city locations and has this started to come back?

The challenges for city centre locations are clear in terms of reduced footfall caused by shifts in home working patterns. Compared to pre-Covid levels the clear winners in our spending data are rural areas along with urban locations that are less densely populated than big cities, and more likely to be where people live rather than where offices are based.

We are however seeing evidence of a slight shift since the second half of 2021. Spending levels have increased faster in Inner London compared to Outer London for example, in Q3 and Q4 of last year compared to the previous year. And this picture is mirrored outside the capital too, with city centres and metropolitan areas winning some of their lost share back from rural and less densely populated areas of the UK.

We are also expecting to see a return of international tourists to the UK at levels not seen in the previous two years, which promises to bring some hope to many of our most popular cities this year.

 

What is most striking to you in terms of the key findings from our latest report? Is there anything here that is unexpected or does this mirror your experiences of 2021?

I was really interested to learn that independent businesses are continuing to flourish and picking up space vacated by chains. I believe that a successful business on the high street is able to stand out from the rest by offering unique, personal and authentic experiences to their customers, and I feel that’s where independents have the most to offer.

Along with that, the insight that the hospitality sector came back strongly in 2021 after an unimaginably tough 2020 is great to see and supports what we’re seeing in our data. COVID led to many hospitality businesses adopting new technologies for the first time that are here to stay - such as booking platforms, delivery options, or digital payments - which should help these businesses sustain their success in 2022 and beyond.

 

What are your predictions for 2022 based on what we have seen so far this year?

I believe 2022 will bring a bigger divide between businesses that will struggle to stay relevant on the high-street because they sell a commoditized product with low margins that plays into the hands of ecommerce, versus thriving experience-focused businesses that offer their customers something memorable and a reason to come back.

I think we’ll see data and technology play a much bigger role in that this year.

Data could be hugely important in independents understanding more about their consumers so they can create those great experiences that we know are in high demand right now.

And I see a big opportunity for technology to seamlessly join up the millions of consumers who are wanting to discover great places to visit with the businesses that can offer them what they are looking for.

 

dojo_logo_charcoal_rgb_3600Dojo are on a mission to make payments effortless. From helping businesses trade to getting them paid, they create tools and services that take the hassle out of running a business. To find out more, visit their website.

 

 

Download your copy of FY 2021 GB Retail and Leisure Report - 'The road to retail recovery: are we there yet?' here.


Abigail Lowman, LDC Marketing Executive
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Abigail Lowman, LDC Marketing Executive The Local Data Company 901 901

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