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UK footfall on Black Friday forecasted to plunge -59%

Tom Bottomley
20 November 2020

Retail intelligence expert Springboard forecasts that footfall will be -59% lower than in 2019 across all UK retail destinations on Black Friday, 27 November, 2020.

Footfall over the three days incorporating the weekend from 27-29 November is expected to be -58% year-on-year, as non-essential stores remain closed in England due to the current coronavirus restrictions.

High streets across the UK are expected to see a -67% year-on-year drop over the weekend, shopping centres could fall -64% in comparison with 2019, while retail parks – with essential food stores and the presence of electrical retailers – are forecast to remain resilient with a drop in footfall of -30.7% over the Black Friday weekend.

Footfall in England is forecast to be considerably worse than in other nations, with decline of -61.7% on Black Friday across all destinations.

Looking beyond Black Friday, with the month-long Lockdown 2 in England due to end on 2 December, and the Tier 4 restrictions in Scotland ending on 12 December, Springboard anticipates that there will be a sudden and noticeable bounce back in footfall which could be up to +40%. Therefore, there is hope for bricks and mortar retailers if they are able to be open for trading in December.

Footfall data in Wales over the first seven days after the end of its 17-day “firebreak” demonstrates this, as over the first seven days after the end of the firebreak the year- on-year decline in footfall improved to -27.8%, from an average decline of more like -72.4% during it.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “It goes without saying that Black Friday this year will be like no other. Needless to say, due to the lockdown in England, all products bar those available in essential stores will need to be purchased online, so online spend will undoubtedly increase substantially.

“Some of this online spend will of course have been driven by the lockdown, however, it reflects the even greater significance of online spend that is likely over Black Friday. For bricks and mortar stores, particularly in England, the opportunity over Black Friday will largely be limited to their ability to provide click and collect facilities, which is the only option for shoppers to purchase goods at non-essential stores.”

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