Despite the predicted discount fatigue, shoppers made the most of the Black Friday reductions giving a boost to British retail.
A 3.3 percent rise in footfall to all destinations in comparison to 2018 saw an increase in visits to shopping centres, the high street and online. Retail intelligence experts Springboard said the highest increase was a 6.5 percent rise in shopping centre traffic.
It was thought that Brexit uncertainty and low consumer confidence would impact Black Friday this year, but it seems that shoppers have been increasingly keen to snap up bargains early in advance of Christmas. This may well have been supported by the fact that Black Friday fell on payday, providing consumers with a little more leeway to make the most of bargain hunting, said Springboard in a media release.
The other key factor in driving an uplift in footfall is consumer demand for combining shopping with leisure and eating out, rather than just purely visiting destinations to make transactions. This is illustrated by the fact that footfall increased as the day progressed,
Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “This positive result may well ‘seal the deal’ for retailers in terms of their commitment to Black Friday moving forward, as they will have claimed shoppers early on in the Christmas trading period giving them the opportunity to steal a march on their rivals.”
Given the enthusiasm that shoppers have shown towards Black Friday, Springboard anticipate a corresponding impact on the Christmas trading period, with a lull in footfall over the next couple of weeks as shoppers delay further significant purchases until immediately before Christmas in an effort to make the most of last minute discounting.
Footfall has declined in December in every year since 2012, and in all but one year since 2009, so it is unlikely to break the long term trend and increase this year. However, compared with last year, Springboard forecasts that footfall over the Christmas trading period from Sunday 24th December to Saturday 28th December 2019 will decline by 1.5 percent from the same five week period last year.
Springboard is expecting the busiest trading day before Christmas to be Saturday 21st December.