In the period from September 24, 2020 to October 17, 2020 - i.e. before the second lockdown - a total of 1,000 personal interviews were conducted at twelve locations in the city, 500 each on Thursdays and 500 on Saturdays. A total of 107 cities and municipalities of various sizes took part in the study, including eleven other cities in the same size range 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. Victoria Appelbe, economic development officer for the city of Bonn, says: "The study confirms the upper-central function of Bonn's city center and its high attractiveness for people visiting it from within the city and from outside."
Requests for improvement in the quality of stay
Only in the areas of "experience value" and "quality of stay" - including, for example, seating, rest and relaxation areas, urban greening, fountains and sports and play equipment - did 60 percent of respondents wish for improvements.
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 Rhein-Sieg district and the Ahrweiler district. 87.8 percent of respondents see Bonn's city center as a "tourist destination".
The proportion of female visitors is well above average: 59.3 percent. On average among the comparison cities, there are also more women than men, but only 55.5 percent.
More than 80 percent of the people surveyed were in the affluent age group between 21 and 65.
Despite online retailing, City remains attractive as a shopping destination
The predominant 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 those surveyed visit the city center daily, 46.1 percent at least once a week. Almost two-thirds are therefore loyal regular customers.
When asked about changes in shopping behavior due to online retail, 55.3 percent of respondents answered "I do shop online, but continue to visit this downtown area frequently for shopping." Only 13.9 percent of respondents said they increasingly shop online and therefore visit the downtown area less frequently. "Bonn's Economic Development Department sees this as confirmation that it will continue to offer its workshop and consulting services on digitization to local retailers," said Arnulf Marquardt-Kuron, City Manager at the Economic Development Department.
Arrival by car predominates
The most frequently used mode of transport for visiting Bonn's city center in 2020 was the private car at 40.3 percent, followed by buses and trains at 31.0 percent. Walking (15.2 percent) and bicycling (13.5 percent) followed by a wide margin. Apparently, the ratio of transport modes has changed due to the Corona pandemic: In 2016, 42.6 percent of visitors still came by bus and train, 27.5 percent by car and 16.1 percent by bicycle, while 13.7 percent walked.
Particularly pleasing for Bonn's city center is the so-called Net Promoter Score (NPS), which determines the probability that the people surveyed will recommend the city center to friends or acquaintances. Jannis Vassiliou, Chairman of the Retail Association, commented: "The significantly above-average Net Promoter Score of 69 percent is sensational and encourages us all to push this city even further towards the top." The average for the comparison cities was just 22.2 percent.
The study "Vital City Centers 2020" by IFH COLOGNE
What does the future hold for German city centers and what do city center visitors want from their city centers? These questions form the basis of the nationwide survey "Vitale Innenstädte 2020," which IFH COLOGNE conducted for the fourth time in the fall of 2020.
In 107 German cities of all sizes and regions, city center visitors were surveyed simultaneously about their shopping habits and the attractiveness of the city center. Data was collected between the end of September and mid-October 2020 using a standardized questionnaire. A total of around 60,000 interviews were collected.
The aim of the survey is to provide partners in retail and administration with urgently needed information on the positioning of their city from the visitors' point of view as a basis for planning location-specific measures. The survey provides both general findings on the attractiveness of city centers and the demands of city center visitors on city centers of the future, as well as specific findings on individual German cities of all sizes and regions.
The study was supported by the Bundesvereinigung City-und Stadtmarketing Deutschland e. V. (bcsd), the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the German Retail Association (HDE) and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB).
Translated with deepl.com (free version)