LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2012 — Businesses along the June 2013 CicLAvia route experienced a 10 percent bump in sales on the day of the event, a new study from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has found.
The increase was greater among those businesses that engaged with CicLAvia participants such as with a vending table or music. “Active participant” businesses saw their sales increase 57 percent according to the study, with sales revenue increases of $1,356 on average compared to $407 on average for all businesses.
With the eighth iteration of L.A.’s day of car-free streets approaching on October 6, the data gives business owners, residents and CicLAvia participants tips on how to make the most of the unique interactions that happen during the event.
Approximately 150,000 people on foot, bikes and skates experienced iconic Wilshire Boulevard as part of the CicLAvia event on June 23, 2013. Researchers at UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative and the Luskin Center for Innovation surveyed a representative sample of brick-and-mortar businesses along the route, comparing sales revenue and foot traffic on CicLAvia Sunday and a Sunday earlier that month.
The researchers found revenues increased by an average of $407 per business—$3,122 in sales on CicLAvia Sunday, as compared with $2,715 on a typical Sunday. When extrapolated along the entire route, this translates into a total sales revenue increase of $52,444 across the 128 establishments that were open during CicLAvia on Sundays in June.
“These numbers demonstrate positive gains for local businesses, but they underestimate the event’s overall economic impact,” said J.R. DeShazo, director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and principal investigator of the study.
The reasons for the undercount include:
- Food Trucks and Other Informal Vendors: The estimated increase in revenue accounts only for the brick-and-mortar businesses located at street level along the route that are normally open on Sundays between 9 am and 4 pm. Excluded from that figure are more than 30 food trucks and myriad other vendors that operated in designated spots along the route that day. The researchers sampled data from 14 food trucks at CicLAvia, finding that the temporary vendors averaged $1,693 in sales, for a total of $50,790 in food truck revenue that day. Several managers reported anecdotally that their food truck would not have been operating—and thus not providing tax revenues to the city—on this Sunday if CicLAvia had not happened.
- Businesses Not Usually Open: The average increase of 10 percent in sales does not include sales revenues for the five or more local businesses that opened specifically for CicAvia Sunday, when they would normally have been closed.
- Consumers Shifting Shopping Patterns: While some businesses performed exceptionally better, those that fared less well were generally loyalty businesses, such as dry cleaners and hair salons. For these businesses, their customers likely shifted business to another day of the week rather than eliminated it altogether. The study did not account for shifting of business to another day.
In interviews with the researchers, business owners reported enthusiasm for the event leading to new customers.
“After 12pm we had over 50 percent more people in here