Oct 20, 2020
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ShopperTrak predicts busiest Christmas days for UK physical stores

Oct 20, 2020

November 28 — the Saturday immediately following Black Friday — will be the busiest in-store shopping day of the UK Christmas period, according to new data from Sensormatic Solutions’ ShopperTrak. And the footfall tracking specialist also expects discounting to be big news this festive season for cash-strapped shoppers.

Black Friday itself won't be among the UK's busiest Christmas shopping days this year, according to ShopperTrak

In fact, it said the halo effect from discounting events will remain a key driver for Christmas footfall, with three of the top five busiest days being driven by either Black Friday or Boxing Day sales events.

And it looks like the pandemic will have an effect in other ways with shoppers set to “make fewer but more purposeful trips into store, making each visit more valuable”.

The company spoke to 1,000 UK consumers to reach those conclusions and found that price will be the top consideration for in-store Christmas shopping for 48% of those consumers, amid economic and political uncertainty caused by Covid-19 and not forgetting an increasingly-more-likely no-deal Brexit. This is followed by product availability (21%) and store cleanliness/hygiene (17%).

After November 28, the next four peak days will be December 28 (which is the Monday after Christmas), then the last Saturday before Christmas (December 19), the previous Saturday, and Boxing Day (December 26).

It’s particularly interesting that this list doesn’t include the big Friday itself. This could be due to Black Friday having become a largely online event in the UK in recent years. And it’s also unlikely that physical shops would want to attract the hordes of Black Friday shoppers seen earlier this decade into their physical spaces as this would make social distancing very difficult.

Physical store footfall on Black Friday itself has been falling for several years, partly due to the event being spread across several days, but possibly also because of the online focus. Last year it dropped 6% year-on-year.

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic’s Retail Consultant for Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: “This year, more so than ever, retailers’ performance during peak trading will be critical and, despite the digital acceleration we have seen during the pandemic, the physical store remains integral to that success.  While this usually means improving in-store experiences to drive sales, customer retention and brand engagement, what constitutes good CX for Christmas 2020 will be, like many things this year, very different than usual.  We expect to see customers shopping less frequently in-store but with more purpose, making each visit more valuable than ever.”

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