Festive footfall disappoints despite increase on New Years Day

Footfall dropped by -10.5% on New Year’s Eve compared with the previous year, according to new retail footfall data.

Springboard, a provider of automated footfall monitoring services, reported footfall dropped significantly and unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve across the UK, declining by -10.5% over the 24 hours and by -7.2% between 7pm and midnight.

This poor performance follows drops seen on Boxing Day (-4.5%) and over the period from 27th December to 30th December with a drop in footfall of -2.3%.

Over this four-day period post Boxing Day, retail parks remained the most resilient with a decline of -1.7% against drops of -1.9% in high streets and -3.8% in shopping centres.

However there was some recovery on New Year’s Day, with a rise of +16.8% from New Year’s Day last year.

Yet Springboard suggests that at least part of this uplift will have been due to the fact that it fell on Monday this year.

Despite this noticeable uplift from last year, the rise of +16.8% is not as great as the drop of -23.8% on New Year’s Day last year resulting in an overall drop of -7% over the two-day period as a whole.

Despite the annual rise in footfall on New Year’s Day, footfall dropped away markedly from 30th December – declining by -14.4% between 30th December and New Year’s Eve, and then by a further -9.7% between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “The drop in footfall on New Year’s Eve was unexpected, and particularly the magnitude of the decline. Last year footfall rose on New Year’s Eve, but this was a response to a significant drop in 2015 which saw severe weather conditions.

“It was against this backdrop that it was anticipated that footfall would rise modestly. The mitigating factor may have been the wind and rain that was evident earlier in the day – from Storm Dylan – which could have led consumers to change plans, however, the weather had mainly cleared up by the early evening.

“Overall the Christmas and New Year trading period this year has been challenging for bricks-and-mortar stores, with noticeably lower footfall than last year. In part this is a reflection of caution amongst consumers, but is also a function of underlying structural shifts in consumers’ shopping habits due to online activity, and the fact that spending is spread across a wider range of products than ever before which is increasingly encompassing leisure experiences rather than purely physical goods.”

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