Christmas footfall magnified the 2016 trend of “a modest bounce back of the high street alongside a slowing of growth out of town and a downward slide in shopping centre activity”, according to the Springboard* 2016 Christmas Footfall Review.
Retail sales declined overall but to a lesser degree than last year, whilst the rise in online sales accelerated. Total sales dropped by 2.6% over the Christmas trading period compared with the same period last year, a lesser drop than the 4.5% recorded in 2015. The Review revealed footfall peaking in the last week of November and Black Friday footfall was 39.2% up on the previous Friday.
Despite the covered environment provided by shopping centres, their limited offer in the face of clear consumer demand for leisure-focused trips had a negative impact. Footfall volumes on New Year’s Day in malls were around half of those recorded on New Year’s Day 2016 when footfall had risen 9.2% from 2015.
Fashion, lifestyle, book and entertainment sales fell while homeware sales rose from 2015, but at a slower rate than between 2014 and 2015. An uplift in travel sales is consistent with the increased demand for the combined shopping and leisure experiences that saw garden centres make big gains in 2016.
Footfall in bricks and mortar destinations rose by 31.1% between Sunday December 18 and Monday December 19, and continued to rise each day until Friday December 23. Footfall on Christmas Eve was 18.3% lower than on December 23, a pattern that has been seen for a number of years. The volume of online transactions dropped each day from Tuesday December 20, with declines of over 20% on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 December.
Boxing Day footfall dropped by7.3% from Boxing Day 2015 and whilst the drop occurred across all retail destinations, by far the greatest slide was a 19.9% drop in shopping centres, a huge downward swing of 27.7% from an increase of 7.8% between 2014 and 2015. Boxing Day and Black Friday recorded similar levels of retail sales.
Dave Glaser, chief product and marketing officer, global ecom at Worldpay said: “The ease and simplicity of shopping online, combined with the recent cold snap have contributed to the spike in online sales this year. The January sales are still an important event in the UK retail calendar, but the ease of online shopping may well be overtaking the traditional excitement of hitting the high street.”
Springboard is the leading provider of performance measurement services for retail destinations, gathering data on customer activity and spend in city centre and out of town shopping locations throughout the UK. It recorded over 120 million footfall counts per week at over 1,492 counting locations in 411 different shopping sites in 254 towns and cities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.