Retail intelligence expert Springboard has forecast UK footfall to increase by 5.4% over the Easter weekend compared to the same trading dates last year.
The forecast comes as Springboard announces UK retail footfall increased by 1.2% in March, year on year, breaking the six-month consecutive decline in what has been a challenging environment industry-wide.
Springboard insights director, Diane Wehrle, says due to the timing of national payday before Easter, mild spring weather and the continued trend for consumer spending focussed on leisure and hospitality trips, they expect this Easter to outperform the last when footfall dropped by 1.9% overall, year on year.
Wehrle comments: “Last year Easter took place on March 25, a few days in advance of national payday for many shoppers. This combined with poor weather conditions, impacted footfall, which declined across retail destinations from Easter Saturday onwards.
“Mild spring weather is forecast for this Easter, which falls after the national payday. This strongly indicates that more shoppers will visit retail destinations over the weekend compared with last year.”
Easter’s forecast is supported by March’s positive performance across all retail destinations in comparison to the month’s prior. UK high street footfall increased 1.7%, retail parks increased 1.4% whilst shopping centres saw marginal growth of 0.2%.
However, the trend for increased leisure and hospitality trips continues as data shows footfall on high streets outside of retail trading hours was much stronger than working hours, indicating that retail is not the key driver of footfall.
“The key drivers of consumer spend, confidence and inflation, have worsened over Q1 2017 from Q1 last year, which is likely to be constraining shoppers’ willingness to spend on retail goods,” explains Wehrle. “This, together with the increasing importance of leisure and hospitality trips, is likely to bring about uplifts in spend in food and beverage outlets.”
Springboard believes most of Easter’s forecasted increase will derive from uplift in footfall on the high street, predicted to increase 8.8%, year on year, over Easter weekend. The footfall in retail parks is forecast to increase 3.5%, while Springbroad predicts shopping centres will only see a rise of 0.1%.
Historically, 25% of bricks and mortar sales over Easter are made in fashion retailers with only 10% being made amongst food and beverage outlets. However, this year Springboard forecasts sales in food and beverage to increase to 15% of the total, with a drop in sales in fashion to around 20%. This is due to more conservative consumer spending on retail goods and increased preference for spending on experiences.
Ecommerce data specialists, PCA Predict forecast online transactions will increase by an average of +7% over the three Easter trading days, with the greatest increase of 20% forecast for Easter Monday.
Chris Harle, COO, PCA Predict says: “Traditionally, Bank Holiday Monday is one of the busiest days of the year for online shopping, and we are expecting this year to be no different. This year, we are expecting to see online transactions via mobile reaching an estimated 49% over Easter weekend. This is a 10% increase on the same time last year as shoppers become more accustomed to shopping on their mobile devices.”