August 19, 2021

Movement in the Perth & Adelaide CBDs now at around two-thirds of pre-pandemic averages while Sydney & Melbourne CBDs locked down

Topic: Press Release, Special Poll
Finding No: 8777
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A special analysis of movement data in Australia’s Capital City CBDs since the COVID-19 pandemic began shows movement in the Perth CBD & Adelaide CBD increasing to around two-thirds of their pre-pandemic average in mid-August even as extended lockdowns cause movement to remain well below pre-pandemic levels in both the Sydney CBD and Melbourne CBD.

The average 7-day movement level in the Adelaide CBD was at 67% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-August, just ahead of the Perth CBD at 64%. This is the highest level of movement in both cities for nearly three months since late May. Both cities have had one short and sharp lockdown during the winter months and both have managed to snuff out their respective outbreaks of COVID-19.

In contrast, movement levels in the Sydney CBD remain near record lows at only 14% of pre-pandemic levels – a slight increase since restrictions on the construction industry were relaxed somewhat in early August.

The average movement levels in the Melbourne CBD were also at only 14% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-August as the city entered its sixth lockdown in early August. Since then the Melbourne lockdown has been extended until September and this week restrictions have been tightened with a curfew re-introduced and the banning of the use of children’s playground equipment.

Just behind the two leaders in third place is the Hobart CBD with movement levels at 55% of pre-pandemic averages in mid-August. Movement in the Brisbane CBD was at 45% of pre-pandemic averages in mid-August and bouncing back quickly after the city’s fifth lockdown ended just over a week ago.

Australian Capital City CBDs average 7-day movement levels March 1, 2020 – August 14, 2021:
% Movement is compared to the 7-day average in Jan-Feb 2020

Source: Roy Morgan collaboration with UberMedia who provide anonymous aggregated insights using mobile location data. Note: Movement data for the Capital City CBDs excludes the residents of the respective CBDs.

The latest vaccination figures from the Health Department show over 16 million vaccination doses have so far been administered to 50% of the adult population. If herd immunity requires 80% of Australia’s 20.6 million adults to be fully vaccinated, we are just over 48% of the way to administering the 33 million vaccination doses required to reach this mark.

Roy Morgan has partnered with leading technology innovator UberMedia to aggregate data from tens of thousands of mobile devices to assess the movements of Australians as we deal with the restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interactive dashboard available tracks the movement data for those visiting the Capital City CBDs during 2020 and 2021, excluding the CBD residents of each city. Movement data from several key locations around Australia is also available to view by using the interactive dashboard.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says over 13 million Australians in New South Wales, Melbourne and the ACT remain locked down this week as over half of the country deals with continuing outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta strain of COVID-19:

“Over half of Australia’s population remains in lockdown in mid-August and the current lockdowns will continue for at least two more weeks into September in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra as new cases of COVID-19 continue to emerge.

“The Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious and is proving hard to eliminate in both Greater Sydney (now in its eighth straight week of lockdown) and Greater Melbourne (now in its third lockdown since Winter began totaling over six weeks in all total).

“The movement levels in the two locked down cities continue to be at only a fraction of their pre-pandemic averages. In both the Sydney CBD and Melbourne CBD average 7-day movement levels in mid-August were at only 14% of pre-pandemic levels.

“The good news is that movement levels in both the Adelaide CBD and Brisbane CBD have bounced back quickly after both cities experienced short week-long lockdowns. The average 7-day movement level in the Adelaide CBD was at 67% of pre-pandemic averages in mid-August, up over 50% points from a low of 15% in late July, and at 45% of pre-pandemic levels in Brisbane, up from only 23% a week earlier.

“The movement levels in both the Perth CBD and Hobart CBD have been at a relatively high level above 50% of pre-pandemic levels so far during August at 64% in the Perth CBD and 55% in the Hobart CBD. Hobart is now the only Australian Capital City not to experience a lockdown so far during 2021.

“The biggest factor determining when Australia can enter a ‘COVID-normal’ period is the vaccination rollout. The lockdowns in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra are increasing the incentives for residents to get vaccinated and this is reflected with a record 270,000 vaccine doses being administered in the last 24 hours.

“In mid-August over 16 million vaccine doses have now been administered to 50% of Australia’s adult population. To reach the threshold of 80% of Australia’s adult population fully vaccinated requires at least 33 million vaccine doses to be delivered.

“At a rate of 1 million vaccine doses delivered per week this vaccination threshold will be reached in mid-December which means that we are likely to face at least another four months of snap lockdowns and state border closures in the run-up to Christmas.

View the latest Roy Morgan UberMedia movement data for Australian Capital City CBDs including the Melbourne CBD, Sydney CBD, Perth CBD, Adelaide CBD and Hobart CBD here.


Michele Levine – direct: 03 9224 5215 | mobile: 0411 129 093 |

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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