Retail intelligence expert Springboard today announced that Black Friday saw a rise in footfall of +3.3% in comparison to 2018. Shopper numbers increased in all three destination types with shopping centres faring the best with an increase in footfall of +6.5% as shoppers looked to make the most of the high concentration of Black Friday discounts.
It was thought that Brexit uncertainty and low consumer confidence would impact Black Friday this year, but it seems that shoppers have been increasingly keen to snap up bargains early in advance of Christmas. This may well have been supported by the fact that Black Friday fell on payday, providing consumers with a little more leeway to make the most of bargain hunting.
The other key factor in driving an uplift in footfall is consumer demand for combining shopping with leisure and eating out, rather than just purely visiting destinations to make transactions. This is illustrated by the fact that footfall increased as the day progressed; by +1.9% up to 12pm by +3.7% by 3pm, by +3.9% by 5pm and by +1.5% post 5pm when many stores are shut.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, commented: “This positive result may well ‘seal the deal’ for retailers in terms of their commitment to Black Friday moving forward, as they will have claimed shoppers early on in the Christmas trading period giving them the opportunity to steal a march on their rivals.”
Given the enthusiasm that shoppers have shown towards Black Friday, Springboard anticipate a corresponding impact on the Christmas trading period, with a lull in footfall over the next couple of weeks as shoppers delay further significant purchases until immediately before Christmas in an effort to make the most of last minute discounting.
Footfall has declined in December in every year since 2012, and in all but one year since 2009, so it is unlikely to break the long term trend and increase this year. However, compared with last year, Springboard forecasts that footfall over the Christmas trading period from Sunday 24th December to Saturday 28th December 2019 will decline by -1.5% from the same five week period last year. This is an improvement on the -2.6% drop in footfall last year and reflects the positive impact that Black Friday had on last week’s footfall which was the first week of the month.
Springboard is expecting the busiest trading day before Christmas to be Saturday 21st December. Last year Saturday 22nd December had higher footfall than any bank holiday or key trading day over the year, and despite the 3.3% rise in footfall on Black Friday it is expected to exceed this figure.
Post-Christmas it is expected that footfall on 27th, 28th and 29th December will be higher than on Boxing Day, which historically was the key sales day. In 2018, footfall on each of these three days was a third higher than on Boxing Day as many consumers now initially search for bargains online before venturing to the stores themselves.
|Black Friday – Year on Year % change in footfall 2019|
|Up to 12pm||Up to 3pm||Up to 5pm||5pm to midnight||24 hours|
|UK All Destinations||1.9%||3.7%||3.9%||1.5%||3.3%|
|% change in footfall on Black Friday from Black Friday in the previous year|
|YOY % change in footfall|
|December 2019 – forecast for year on year % change in footfall|
|All UK Destinations||-1.5%|