- Don-Alvin Adegeest
Retail intelligence experts Springboard on Thursday announced footfall in UK bricks and mortar retail destinations is -10.6 percent down on the period up to 12pm on Boxing Day last year.
This is the largest decline of any Boxing Day since Springboard started publishing footfall data in 2009. Not only is it a larger decline than in the last two years combined for the period up to 12pm (in 2018 footfall was -4.2 percent lower than in 2017 and in 2017 it was -6.1 percent lower than in 2016), but it is the biggest drop since Boxing Day 2010 which was on a Sunday when trading starts later and when we were in the grips of a recession.
High streets are struggling the most, with a drop in footfall of -13.6 percent versus -8.8 percent in shopping centres and -5.9 percent in retail parks. Part of the drop will undoubtedly be due to the rainy weather which deters shoppers, particularly in high streets which are exposed to the elements.
No single region has escaped a drop in footfall, although Greater London and the North & Yorkshire are faring slightly better than other areas with drops of -7.2 percent and -9.9 percent versus drops as great as -17.2 percent in Northern Ireland, -14.9 percent in the South East and -14 percent in both Scotland and Wales.
Shoppers avoid wet weather on Boxing Day morning
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “Looking ahead to the rest of the day, footfall may well improve slightly especially if the rain stops, as this tends to be the trend on Boxing Day. Footfall strengthens as consumers go out later after relaxing at home in the morning. However, in no single year has the improvement been more than +3 percent so it is likely that at the end of the day footfall will be substantially down on last year.
“This result reflects a number of underlying structural changes in terms of how consumers shop with more going online, the increased spending around Black Friday, the growing demand for hospitality and experience and the fact that the number of blended families means that many consumers are still celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day with their family.
“In combination, these changes mean that Boxing Day is indisputably a less important trading day than it once was. In fact, footfall on Boxing Day so far this year is -10.9 percent lower than footfall over the same period on Black Friday.”
Image: Oxford Street via New West End Company