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 five 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 latest data is up to Friday 1st October and, in the latest week: 

  • Daily visit numbers to North East retail and recreation sites were 4% to 9% below pre-COVID levels
  • the latest weekly average was just over 6% below pre-COVID levels
  • weekly visits to these sites were at their highest since March 2020 in late August but have since fallen to the same level as in late July.

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

  • latest visit levels in Sunderland were at their highest since the pre-COVID period
  • this was true for Newcastle in the previous week but levels had fallen in the latest week
  • levels in the other five local authority areas had peaked in August and early September but had since decreased
  • latest weekly visit numbers in Northumberland were 2% above pre-COVID levels
  • in North Tyneside and County Durham, numbers were just below pre-COVID totals, respectively, by 2% and 3%
  • in the other four local authority areas, numbers were 9% to 12% below pre-COVID levels.

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

  • supermarket and pharmacy visit numbers had only been higher than this week in June and September this year
  • visits to workplaces were at their highest level since June 2021
  • visit numbers to public transport hubs during the latest four weeks were higher than at any point since March 2020
  • hours spent at home in the latest four weeks had been at their lowest weekly levels since March 2020.

Google do not publish indices for LEP areas or combined authorities but they do include information for the six English metropolitan counties that cover the largest urban areas outside of London. The retail and recreation indices for these areas show that, in the latest week:

  • The index value for Tyne and Wear was similar to that in the five other metropolitan counties and was the third highest of the six
  • Tyne and Wear retail and recreation visits were at 89 per cent of early 2020 levels, the range was 88 to 93 per cent in the other five areas
  • in Greater London, the number of visits was only 76 per cent of the level in early 2020.

Retail and recreation visit daily index, most recent 10 weeks, North East LEP area

Last updated:
06/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 01 Oct 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 five 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:
06/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 01 Oct 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 five 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 Feb 2020, North East local authority areas

Last updated:
06/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 01 Oct 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 five 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 Feb 2020, North East LEP area

Last updated:
06/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 01 Oct 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 five 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.


Retail and recreation visit index, weekly average since Feb 2020, metropolitan counties, Gtr London

Last updated:
06/10/2021
Published by:
North East LEP

Source: COVID-19 Community Report  [Google, up to and including 01 Oct 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 five weeks of 2020. 

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

The six metropolitan counties include the largest English built up areas outside of London and were created in 1974. Although abolished in 1986, they are still recognised, especially for statistical purposes, and Google community reports use them as an upper-tier geography alongside traditional counties such as Northumberland and Durham.

The metropolitan counties differ in boundaries from LEP areas and city regions.