Boxing Day footfall falls to lowest level since 2010

Retail footfall decreased by 10.6% on Boxing Day in 2019, and marks the largest decrease in footfall since 2010.

The research from Springboard found the decline to be larger than the last two years combined for the period. In 2018 footfall was 4.2% lower than in 2017 and in 2017 it was 6.1% lower than in 2016.

The group said high streets are “struggling the most”, with a drop in footfall of 13.6% compared with the 8.8% decline in shopping centres and 5.9% decrease in retail parks.

Springboard added that part of the drop was “undoubtedly” due to the rainy weather, particularly affecting high streets which are “exposed to the elements”.

Additionally, Springboard said no single region escaped a drop in footfall. Greater London and the North and Yorkshire fared “slightly better” than other areas with drops of 7.2% and 9.9%, compared with drops as great as 17.2% in Northern Ireland, 14.9% in the south east and 14% in both Scotland and Wales.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “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% so it is likely that at the end of the day footfall will be substantially down on last year.”

She added: “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.”

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