Early Christmas shoppers boost Black Friday UK store traffic - report
A good week-on-week gain, but still well below pre-pandemic numbers. That was Black Friday (26 November) shopper traffic numbers across the UK.
Footfall might have driven 35% higher on a week-on-week basis, but the performance is still down 23% on two years ago, according to Sensormatic Solutions.
The report noted that the week-on-week gain meant consumers were “buying early to avoid supply chain disruption, shipping delays and price hikes”.
Its ‘UK Retail: Shopper Sentiment Report’ shows 79% of shoppers had planned to start Christmas shopping before the beginning of December and 34% planned to start buying Christmas gifts in November, seven percentage points higher than in 2020.
Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant at Sensormatic Solutions, said: “Despite not reaching pre-pandemic levels, Christmas has started to come early for high street retailers, who will be welcoming the Black Friday boost to trade that traditionally marks the start of the festive season.
“Over the past 12 months, we have seen a slow but steady resurgence of high street shopping, as consumer confidence has grown and demand for in-person shopping has risen.”
However, he added: “Retailers will be hoping that initial Black Friday success doesn’t turn into a ‘blue Monday’ and that demand can be sustained into December, their most crucial trading period.
Its report also shows bricks-and-mortar shopping on Black Friday has had a mixed performance in the UK over the last five years, as consumer and retailer’ adoption of the event has shifted, along with the ongoing online migration of the discounting event.
After dipping to -3% year-on-year (YoY) in 2018, in-store footfall on Black Friday bounced back to +9% YoY in 2019, before plummeting to -79% YoY in 2020 as the national Covid-19 lockdown shuttered stores and the event went 100% digital.
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