Consumers

Black Friday footfall set for comeback in 2021

The higher footfall is set to peak on Black Friday itself, with a predicted rise of 19%, with figures that ‘bring renewed optimism for the retail sector this Christmas’

A surge in shopping is forecast for Black Friday this year, with UK footfall set to increase by 7.9% between 21 and 27 November against the previous week, according to the latest figures from Springboard

The higher footfall is set to peak on Black Friday itself, with a predicted rise of 19%, with figures that “bring renewed optimism for the retail sector this Christmas”. 

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, footfall on Black Friday was -60.4% lower than on Black Friday 2019, where footfall was 3.3% higher than 2018 amid normal trading conditions. 

This year, however, UK retail destinations are set to see footfall increase by 7.9% over the week as a whole, while footfall will peak over the Black Friday weekend with rises of 19% on Friday, 13% on Saturday and 11% on Sunday. 

Shopping centres which are expected to see the highest level of footfall, which is predicted to rise by 24%, while high streets will also see a rise of 20% and and retail parks a rise of 6%.

Springboard said that lower figures across retail parks when compared with high streets and shopping centres was “inevitable” as they “start from a much higher base”. In October, for example, footfall in retail parks was just -3.1% lower than the 2019 level whilst it was -15% lower in high streets and -20% lower in shopping centres. 

The uplift in footfall will continue through to Saturday and Sunday in all three destination types however, with a slightly lower degree than on Friday. 

Over the three days, from Black Friday to Sunday, footfall in shopping centres is forecast to be 19% higher than on the same three days in the previous week, 17% higher in high streets and 4% higher in retail parks. 

In total, the anticipated uplift in shopper activity on Black Friday this year means that over the three days from Friday to Sunday, footfall is forecast to be 107.5% higher than on the same three days in 2020. 

However, the magnitude of the drop in footfall since Covid means that over the three days footfall will still be 14.4% lower than in 2019. In retail parks, however, footfall to be only 2.9% below the 2019 level across the three days and almost level with 2019 on Friday (-0.7%). 

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard commented: “With retailing now back to full throttle, and shoppers having been deprived of the opportunity to visit bricks and mortar destinations in the run up to and over Christmas last year, we are anticipating that footfall will increase by +7.9% in the week of Black Friday from the week before. 

“The increase in shopper activity is also likely to be a consequence of the concern around potential supply issues which could mean that unless chosen gifts are purchased early then they may not subsequently be available in time for Christmas.” 

She added: “High streets and shopping centres will be the winners in terms of the uplift in shopper numbers, as consumers make the most of the opportunity to grab Christmas presents early to ensure they don’t suffer from any supply shortages but also soak up the Christmas feel that was so absent last year. 

“However, retail parks will continue to appeal to shoppers due to the compelling discounting offered by electrical and homeware retailers that is a key feature of Black Friday, together with their accessibility and free parking, which makes it easy and convenient for shoppers to click and collect online purchases.”

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