Discounting during the past few weeks will take its toll on footfall on traditionally busy trading days, with the number of shoppers predicted to decline on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
Today, the day before Christmas Eve, is usually the biggest shopping day of the year and it is expected to experience a 6.6% increase at all retail destinations compared to December 23 2013, according to data from consumer research company Springboard.
But on Christmas Eve footfall is predicted to fall across the board by 2.3%, with only retail parks set to see an increase of 4%. The decline of last-minute on-the-ground shopping is attributed to the season’s heavy discounting, which drove customers to purchase gifts earlier, and the increasing prominence of click-and-collect.
Footfall is expected to decline by 0.02% on Boxing Day, with retail parks again the only format forecast to increase, by 6%. The data suggests that it will be home and electrical bargains, rather than clothing, that will prompt shopping trips to retail parks, .
“There is no doubt that Black Friday-related pre-Christmas discounting and click-and-collect have impacted trading for physical retailers,” said Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard.
“This has been combined, however, with a general downward trend as a result of shoppers turning to the convenience and speed of online over high streets and shopping centres.”
Footfall over the last weekend before Christmas showed an overall drop, down 5.4% on Friday and 2.5% on Saturday and Sunday.