The Retail intelligence experts found that shopper numbers increased in all three destination types with shopping centres faring the best with an increase in footfall of +6.5% as shoppers looked to make the most of the high concentration of Black Friday discounts.
It was thought that Brexit uncertainty and low consumer confidence would impact Black Friday this year, but Springboard said it seems that shoppers have been “increasingly keen” to snap up bargains early in advance of Christmas.
They added 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.
In addition, 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 was illustrated by the fact that footfall increased as the day progressed; by +1.9% up to 12pm by +3.7% by 3pm, by +3.9% by 5pm and by +1.5% post 5pm when many stores are shut.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: “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.”
As a result of of the Black Friday numbers, Springboard said it anticipates a “corresponding impact” on the Christmas trading period, with a lull in footfall over the next couple of weeks.
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.
Springboard forecasts that footfall over the Christmas trading period from Sunday 24th December to Saturday 28 December 2019 will decline by -1.5% from the same five week period last year.