Black Friday footfall down as consumers favour online shopping

Retailers Seek Customers After First Decline In Black Friday Shopping Since 2009

Online transactions stole the show over Black Friday causing footfall to dip over the weekend, according to retail footfall analysts Springboard.

Springboard reports that footfall in retail destinations across the UK over the Black Friday weekend was down -9.6% year-on-year (YOY). Instead, shoppers increasingly chose to take advantage of retailers’ flash sales online rather than hitting the stores, with PCA Predict recording online traffic was up +12% YOY over the weekend.

Many retailers continued their offers over the full weekend in hopes to boost the surge over three days. However, Springboard figures reveal the drop in footfall was deeper on Saturday and Sunday, dropping -6.8% YOY each day, than Black Friday itself, which dropped just -4.5% YOY.

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While UK high streets and shopping centres suffered, the only retail destinations to buck the downward trend sparked by the online boost were retail parks, which recorded a +4.9% YOY increase for the weekend as a whole. While footfall in retail parks on Black Friday itself was down -1.8% YOY, Saturday and Sunday saw increases of +4.8% YOY per day. Springboard believes this is likely to be the result of shoppers using ‘Click and Collect’ on Friday and coming out to pick up their purchases over the weekend.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, comments: “The volume of activity in retail stores over the Friday and Saturday of the Black Friday weekend is lower than last year and the evidence clearly points to the fact that much of this is due to a significant increase in shoppers using online to participate in the event.

However, compared with the same days in the previous week there was still a massive surge of shoppers into retail destinations: a rise of +19.9% from the previous Friday;  +7.4% from the previous Saturday and a huge +27.1% up to 12pm on Sunday.  The fact that footfall has increased significantly over the weekend from the previous week, whilst declining from the same days in 2014 is a strong indicator that the nature of Black Friday – and indeed all shopping – has continued to move toward online over the year fuelled by the increased usage of mobile phones, which according to PCA Predict make up 35% of all online traffic.  In addition, the growth of click and collect in supporting store visits should not be under-estimated, particularly for retail parks, with many shoppers now opting to buy online but to then visit stores to pick up their purchases.”

With another big day for online sales expected today for Cyber Monday, it will be interesting to see how the surge in online activity over the weekend might effect this single online sale day.


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