Footfall demonstrably more resilient than in first complete week of lockdown in March, Springboard reports

Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals that footfall across UK retail destinations last week was 57.7% lower than the same week in 2019; 64.7% lower in high streets and 65.7% lower in shopping centres but just 34.3% lower in retail parks.  Footfall is demonstrably more resilient than it was in the first complete week of lockdown in March, when it dropped by -75.1% across all UK retail destinations; around -79% in both high streets and shopping centres and -61% in retail parks.

Between Thursday and Saturday footfall in retail destinations rose by an average of +13.2% from the same three days in the week before, when the lockdown started. This indicates that, rather than restricting their movement outside of their homes, by the second half of last week shoppers had started to return to retail destinations.  What is also interesting is that despite the closure of all non-essential stores and hospitality, which account for the vast majority of stores in high streets and shopping centres,  there were significant rises in footfall from Thursday onwards across all three destination types (+10.1% in high streets, +14.1% in shopping centres and +18.7% in retail parks).

Following the end of the two week lockdown in Wales, footfall in its retail destinations rose by a staggering +135.9% last week from the week before, providing the first indication of what may occur in England when the lockdown ends on 2nd December.  The impact of the start of Christmas trading, and the intention of shoppers to buy early is clearly indicated by the fact that the increases were even greater in Wales’s shopping centres (+168.8%) and high streets (+154.8%) albeit still significant in retail parks (+60.4%). This data reinforces the findings of the Springboard-AL Marketing Unwrapping Christmas with Covid-19″ report1 which identified that 69% of shoppers intend to start their Christmas shopping earlier this year in case of long queues and Covid restrictions.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insight director, stated: “The first complete week of Lockdown 2 drove footfall down across UK retail destinations, although the decline wasn’t nearly as severe as it was in Lockdown 1 or indeed as comprehensive. This was partly due to schools remaining open, although the vast majority of school related journeys take place outside of retail destinations and so would not directly impact footfall in high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. 

The fact that footfall is more resilient may well be a function of the proximity of Christmas, and the concern of shoppers to buy well in advance this year to avoid queues, facilitated by the wide range of non-food products offered in stores selling essential goods . 

In the second half of the week, from Thursday to Saturday, footfall was significantly higher than on the same three days in the previous week which were the first three days of the lockdown, indicating that as the week progressed shoppers began to make trips out of their homes.  Indeed, this reinforces the concern about the likely rebound in activity following the end of the lockdown, highlighted by the unprecedented increase in footfall recorded in Wales following the end of the two week lockdown.”

Week beginning 08/11/2020 (Sunday to Saturday)
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
UK High Streets-64.7%-32.7%
UK Retail Parks-34.3%-21.0%
UK Shopping Centres-65.7%-39.2%
All UK Destinations-57.7%-31.5%
Week beginning 08/11/2020 (Sunday to Saturday) – All UK Retail Destinations
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
East -58.4%-38.4%
East Midlands-66.0%-43.4%
Greater London-63.5%-38.5%
North & Yorkshire-59.1%-35.3%
South East-59.3%-39.4%
South West-60.7%-40.7%
West Midlands-58.9%-36.7%
Northern Ireland-37.7%1.1%
Week beginning 08/11/2020 (Sunday to Saturday) – Wales
Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
Wales High Streets-33.8%154.8%
Wales Retail Parks-15.4%60.4%
Wales Shopping Centres-40.2%168.8%
Wales UK Destinations-31.1%135.9%
Week beginning 08/11/2020 (Sunday to Saturday)
 Year on year % change in footfallWeek on week % change in footfall
Coastal Towns-56.5%-34.4%
Historic Towns-66.4%-40.6%
Regional Cities-74.3%-34.1%
Central London-82.4%-50.5%
Outer London-52.3%-30.3%
Market Towns-58.3%-35.4%
Regional Cities Ex London-65.4%-17.8%
Week on Week % change in footfall -Thursday to Saturday
 wb 01/11/2020wb 08/11/2020
UK High Streets-47.5%10.1%
UK Retail Parks-35.5%18.7%
UK Shopping Centres-55.6%14.1%
All UK Destinations-46.7%13.2%