As non essential retailers prepare to close, footfall could drop by 80 percent

On the day the UK Government confirmed it would go back into lockdown with non-essential retailers to close, retail intelligence experts Springboard forecasts footfall could drop by as much as 80 percent, the magnitude of decline at the height of the pandemic in April. The current lockdown will end on December 2nd, but there is no guarantee it will not be extended.

Separately, a survey of 1,000 shoppers nationally identified that a staggering 63.5 percent of Brits intend to spend less on Christmas this year than last year, with only 1 in 10 people intending to buy more presents, however there will be more of a focus staying in to enjoy family time as a third of shoppers intend to spend more on food and groceries. These latest findings have been taken from the Springboard-AL Marketing ‘Unwrapping Christmas with Covid 19’ report.

Online spending to surge

As lockdown restrictions continue to ripple throughout the UK and uncertainty remains over restrictions over the Christmas period, Springboard highlight that online spending will be even more important for consumers and retailers this year as 61.2 percent intend to spend more online whilst only 20.4 percent look to spend more from bricks and mortar stores. As workers continue to work from home, large city centres will be the hardest hit this Christmas, with footfall less than half of that in 2019 (-53.5 percent), whilst in smaller high streets, footfall will be just over a quarter lower (-26.7 percent) as 62.8 percent of consumers intend to spend more in smaller and local stores this year. Footfall in the devolved nations will be lower than in England, which is a consequence of the recently imposed additional restrictions, with drops of more than -40 percent in their retail destinations (-43.3 percent in Wales, -41.2 percent in Scotland and -46.1 percent in Northern Ireland). This year, Christmas Day falls on a Friday and Boxing Day on a Saturday. The long term trend is for footfall on Boxing Day to decline each year due to the growth in online spending and shift towards leisure based rather than shopping focussed trips on this day.  This year, due to the ‘Rule of 6’ which limits the size of social gatherings and the growth in online spending, Springboard forecasts that decline will be proportionately greater as it is likely that the weekend of Boxing Day (Saturday) and 27th December (Sunday) will be used by many families to meet with those they were not able to see on Christmas Day.  The fact that a third of shoppers intend to spend more on food and groceries this year reflects this. Post Boxing Day, footfall is likely to bounce back as it will be the first opportunity for many shoppers to head out to stores after spending time with their families. This will lead to a marginal improvement in footfall in the week beginning Sunday 27th December, with a decline of -30.9 percent across all retail destinations from -32.7 percent over the five weeks to 26th December.

Photo credit: Pexels


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