Black Friday steals Boxing Day’s thunder as high street footfall drops

Shopping Christmas Mintel Boxing Day

The Boxing Day sales got off to a slow start as footfall on the high street dropped by -5.9% year-on-year, reflecting lower consumer confidence and the fact that pre-Christmas, in particular Black Friday, discounting has impacted spend.

According to retail intelligence company Springboard, by the end of Boxing Day footfall was down -5.9% on the high street, while shopping centres were down -3.5% and out of town locations down by -2.1%.

Springboard Insights director Diane Wehrle said the figures show how the structure of seasonal shopping is changing. “This undoubtedly reflects the extent of discounting that has already occurred – particularly over Black Friday – and also the growth in online trade this year,” she told AOL.

“In addition to this, Black Friday now rivals Boxing Day in terms of the volume of footfall generated and so its influence as a key trading day in the retail calendar has been diluted,” Wehrle added.

Online sales are expected to have fared much better. IMRG had predicted online sales would break the £1bn barrier for the first time this year, though this is far below the figure of £1.39bn achieved on Black Friday.

Amazon announced this week that the 2017 holiday had been its “biggest yet” with record levels of sales though it did not release specific figures. It said it had performed particularly well in four areas: small sellers sold more than 1bn items; Prime subscribers had increased by 4m in the space of one week; “tens of millions” of Alexa-enabled devices were sold; and mobile made up 32% of e-commerce sales overall in the US from 1 November to 17 December, while app usage was up 70%.