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What is a Footfall Counter?

June 1, 2024
Two women entering shopping store

A Footfall counter is a device or system measuring footfall inside businesses or commercial buildings. Footfall counters can be realized using different technologies such as light beams, infrared, stereo-cameras, WiFi, Bluetooth or security cameras with video analytics.

Footfall counters, also known as people counters, help businesses measure and analyze customer traffic. These devices and systems provide valuable insights into customer behavior, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and optimize their operations. In the article series about customer insights, customer intelligence and customer experience we elaborate in great detail how the data from footfall counters can help businesses succeed.

Types of Footfall Counters

Footfall counters come in various forms, each with its own advantages. Manual counters or tally counters require physical counting through a dedicated person at the entrance, while infrared beam counters and thermal cameras use advanced technology to detect and count individuals. Video analytics and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth tracking leverage computer vision and signal tracking to estimate foot traffic accurately.

The following list explains them briefly. Door counters are a commonly used method of implementing the following tech.

Manual Clicker

A manual clicker is a piece of mechanical equipment that has to be updated by pressing a button in order to keep a running tally of people counting. It can also be done digitally via a mobile app designed for the purpose.

However, since the core component here is the human element recording the observations- this process is largely considered outmoded in comparison to newer, simpler technologies.

Electronic People Counter

A people counter is an electronic device that can be used to measure the number of people traversing a particular space/entrance/exit. The technology in use here can vary; sometimes light beams are used, while at others there are complicated dedicated sensors such as stereo cameras, time sensors or flight sensors.

Smart Flooring Technologies

Smart floor technologies designed for people counting do so by means of sensors that register contact when stepped on.

Thermal Sensing

Thermal sensors are trained to count people by detection of body temperature. They are generally installed, top-down, at entrances or exit points to enhance accuracy.

Thermal sensing is, however, conditional. It is prone to being negatively affected by sunlight since sunlight radiates the whole light spectrum.

Active Infrared

Also known as break-beam sensors, these sensors have an infrared emitter and an infrared receiver. Standard Active Infrareds count the number of times the beam is ‘broken’. The final figure is then divided by 2.

Most AIRs are bidirectional and are typically installed on one or both sides of a doorway.

WiFi Tracking

This particular technology is functional only if your phone is logged onto the area’s WiFi network when you enter it. All you need to do is have your WiFi turned on.

This technology is not very accurate when it comes to detection at a room level. It also errs on the side of invasive, and so is not favored universally.

Camera-based counting

Camera-based counting systems use cameras to detect objects.

Benefits and Importance

By analyzing footfall data, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. Conversion rates, a crucial metric for retailers, can be calculated by comparing footfall data with sales figures, enabling businesses to optimize their operations and boost profitability. Staffing optimization becomes a breeze as footfall data helps allocate resources efficiently, ensuring smooth operations during peak hours. Furthermore, footfall counters aid in space utilization, allowing businesses to optimize store layouts and promotional displays for maximum impact. Lastly, footfall counters contribute to security and safety by monitoring crowd density and preventing overcrowding in public spaces.


Retail analytics is one of the primary applications of footfall counters. By tracking foot traffic, retailers can measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, evaluate store performance, and make informed decisions regarding product placement and store layout. Transportation hubs such as airports and train stations use footfall counters to manage passenger flow, optimize staffing, and enhance security measures. In the realm of event management, footfall counters provide organizers with crucial attendance data, enabling better planning, resource allocation, and evaluation of event success. Urban planners can leverage footfall data to understand pedestrian traffic patterns, identify high-traffic areas, and make informed decisions about infrastructure and public spaces.

Privacy and Ethical Considerations

While footfall counters offer valuable data, privacy concerns must be addressed. It is essential to respect individuals' privacy rights and adhere to relevant privacy regulations when implementing footfall counting systems. Transparent data collection practices should be followed, and efforts should be made to anonymize and securely store footfall data to protect individuals' identities.

Future Trends

The future of footfall counters holds great promise. Advancements in computer vision and machine learning will enhance their accuracy and capabilities. Integration with technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will unlock new possibilities for leveraging footfall data. Mobile app-based footfall tracking, utilizing location services and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth signals, is also likely to gain prominence.

Video Tutorial

This video shows Isarsoft Perception in action, as it detects and counts people using the escalators in a shopping mall. People counting is one of Isarsoft Perception's most scalable features - and can be implemented by users to perform functions such as crowd control, pedestrian and shopper safety, and the prevention of overcrowding.


Footfall counters have emerged as indispensable tools for businesses across various industries. By harnessing the power of footfall data, organizations can drive business growth, improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer experiences. As we move forward, it is crucial to strike a balance between leveraging the insights provided by footfall counters and respecting privacy rights, ensuring that businesses and customers can both benefit from this invaluable technology.

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