Retail intelligence experts Springboard today forecast that footfall for Black Friday [Friday 24 November] across UK high Streets, Retail Parks and Shopping Centres is set to dip -0.6% Year on Year [2016-2017] for the first time since Black Friday became an established key trading day in 2013.
Springboard attributes this drop in footfall to the increasing constraints on household budgets from rising inflation and the recent interest rate rise. Increasing to 0.5% in November, this latest impact, resulting in higher mortgage costs, has caused consumers to be even more cautious and tighten purse strings. The most recent consumer price index inflation figure was 3 per cent for September and the cost of living has been running above the target of 2% for most of this year.
Traditionally Black Friday [the payday weekend] has signalled the start of the Christmas shopping season, with consumers purchasing big ticket items and electrical goods however the current economic climate means this trend could see a shift this year.
UK Retail Parks will experience a modest increase in footfall for Black Friday compared to its high street and shopping centre counterparts, increasing by 0.1% Year on Year, reflecting their continued buoyancy and ability to buck national trends driven by click and collect, their accessibility and the ever growing leisure offer in retail parks.
Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said: “As well as consumers being more cautious with their spending habits due to inflation and interest rates rises, sales have also already started so there is no big moment in the lead up to Black Friday. This will certainly affect footfall across the country for the Black Friday Weekend. Consumers simply won’t be as eager to spend because they have less money in their pockets and they have already been spoilt for choice as retailers have unusually run sales in the last few months, crucially outside of the traditional discount periods”.
Despite the drop in footfall year on year, retailers are optimistic that footfall will increase 18% on Black Friday compared to the previous week [Friday 17th November 2017], with UK High Streets coming out on top with Springboard predicting to see a 20% rise in footfall week on week. This double digit growth is representative of a consistent pattern that the retail market has seen over the last three years in the week leading to Black Friday Weekend.