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City management and retail

Attractive shopping city

Bonn's city center is the main center of the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahrweiler region. Its catchment area extends from Much to Rheinbach and from Wesseling to Remagen. At the same time, it is the A center of the city of Bonn under planning law in the sense of the retail and center concept; the three downstream B centers are Bad Godesberg, Beuel and Duisdorf. All four centers are characterized by a high quality of stay and a diverse range of gastronomy and retail offerings.

High purchasing power and employment

According to MB Research, the population in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg region had a general purchasing power of around €24.7 billion in 2021, with Bonn accounting for €9.0 billion of this. Per capita, the general purchasing power of the Bonn population was €26,925, which is around €870 higher than the purchasing power in the Rhein-Sieg district of €26,055. The purchasing power index for the city of Bonn was 110.1 points (Rhein-Sieg district: 106.5), well above the national average (= 100 points). On June 30, 2020, a total of 14,334 employees subject to social insurance contributions worked in Bonn's retail sector. Compared with the previous year, this represents a decrease of -0.8 or 109 employees.

Study "Vital City Centers 2020"

Together with the Bonn Rhine-Sieg Euskirchen Retail Association, the Office for Economic Development commissioned the Institute for Retail Research to survey a total of 1,000 passers-by in downtown Bonn in September/October 2020. The survey took place at twelve locations from September 24 to October 17, 2020 - i.e. before the second lockdown. A total of 107 cities and municipalities of various sizes took part in the study, including eleven other cities in the same size category as Bonn between 200,000 and 500,000 inhabitants*. The respondents gave Bonn's city center an above-average overall grade of 2.2 (average in the comparative size category 2.6). More than three quarters gave the school grades 1 and 2. 

Only in the areas of "experience value" and "quality of stay, e.g. through seating, resting and lingering zones, urban greening, fountains or sports and play equipment" were improvements desired by a majority of around 60 percent of those surveyed. Good to very good marks were awarded for retail offerings, primarily textiles, shoes, watches/jewelry and consumer electronics. Housing, office and sports/hobby as well as food only received a "satisfactory". Obvious differences emerged with regard to visits during the week and at weekends: On Thursdays, 54.2 percent came from outside the city of Bonn; on Saturdays, only 38.8 percent. 

The survey also confirmed the catchment area of Bonn's city center, which has existed for many years: it is essentially the city of Bonn as a whole, the Rhine-Sieg district and the district of Ahrweiler. 87.8% of respondents see Bonn's city center as a "tourist destination". The proportion of female visitors is clearly above average: 59.3 of all visitors to Bonn's city center are female, compared with an average of only 55.5 percent of the comparable cities, which are also more female than male. More than 80 percent of those surveyed were in the "affluent" age range of 21 to 65. The overwhelming reason for visiting Bonn's city center is shopping. On Saturdays, the second most important reason is visiting restaurants, and on Thursdays this is "going to the authorities, visiting the doctor, working." 

18 percent of the respondents visit the city center daily, 46.1 % at least once a week; Bonn's city center thus has a loyal regular clientele. When asked about changes in shopping behavior due to online retail, 55.3% of respondents answered "I do shop online, but continue to visit this downtown area frequently for shopping." Only 13.9% of people said they shop online more and therefore visit downtown less frequently. 

The most frequently used means of transport to visit Bonn's city center in 2020 was the private car with 40.3%, followed by buses and trains with 31.0%. Pedestrians with 15.2% and cyclists with 13.5% followed by a wide margin. Apparently, the ratio of transport modes has changed due to the Corona pandemic: In 2016, 42.6% of visitors* still came by bus and train, 27.5% by car and 16.1% by bicycle, 13.7% walked. Particularly pleasing for Bonn's city center is the so-called Net Promoter Score (NPC), which determines the likelihood that respondents will recommend the city center to friends or acquaintances. The comparison cities had an NPC of 22.2%, while Bonn's city center achieved a sensational NPC of 69.0%!

Consequences of the Corona Pandemic

The Corona pandemic, with its outwardly visible manifestations such as lockdowns, access restrictions in stores and restaurants, mandatory masks, etc., has contributed significantly to an acceleration of developments that could already be observed before:

  • Retail sales growth has occurred almost exclusively online
  • Former retail space has been given over to other uses, especially gastronomy

Frequencies of passers-by in the city center of Bonn

Since May 2018, there have been three frequency measuring systems ( in downtown Bonn that count the moving people around the clock. The City Management of the Economic Development Office regularly evaluates this data, which is freely available on the Internet. The data is a very good basis for observing the frequencies both during the course of the day and over a longer period of time.

The figure shows the development of the number of pedestrians in 2019 (green), 2020 (purple) and 2021 (red): With the first lockdown, the number of pedestrians dropped significantly and has not fully recovered to date.

No serious increase in vacancies

No serious increase in store vacancies has been observed either in downtown Bonn or in the urban district centers of Bad Godesberg, Beuel and Hardtberg. Vacancies that have arisen - whether due to the Corona pandemic or for other reasons - have been and are being rapidly reoccupied with new uses.

Mr. Arnulf Marquardt-Kuron

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