The data provider said this came as “no surprise”, as December footfall has only increased once since 2009. Despite this, the fall was at the “upper end of the scale of decline”.
The “noticeable” decline in footfall was in part due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday bringing Christmas trading forward. While the events increased footfall by 0.1% in the first two weeks of the trading month, footfall dropped by 6.1% over the third and fourth weeks.
High street footfall fell by 3.5%, while shopping centre footfall fell by 2.1%. Retail parks also saw footfall slip by 0.5% during the month.
Diane Werhle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said the reasons for the decline were “varied”, but reflect the “caution and spending restraint of consumers which typifies low consumer confidence that has been ongoing for the last three years”.
Werhle said: “Even supermarket spending only rose by 0.2% in December despite food price inflation of 0.9%, with supermarket volume sales dropping by 0.7%; indicating that this restraint also encompassed food and consumables during a month in which food and beverage are key.
“Other influences that will have driven down footfall in stores and destinations during December include the strong shift in consumer demand towards experience/leisure based trips, away from wholly transaction focussed visits.”
She said: “Today’s rather circumspect consumer was clearly demonstrating considered restraint towards their lifestyle and spend decisions over the Christmas period.
“The growing climate change movement and increased consumer concerns around waste and sustainability is likely to have further limited trips to destinations to make non-essential purchases, thereby diluting footfall even further.”