Black Friday fails to boost footfall
2020 was a turbulent year in which much of retail bounced between being open and closed, impacting footfall significantly. To make meaningful comparisons to changes in footfall, all 2021 figures are compared with 2019 (pre-pandemic). This means our 2021 figures are now year-on-two-years (Yo2Y), rather than year-on-year (YoY).
Covering the four weeks 31 October – 27 November 2021
According to BRC-Sensormatic IQ data:
- Total UK footfall decreased by 15.7% in November (Yo2Y), with a 2.0 percentage point decrease from October. This is below the 3-month average decline of 15.5%.
- Footfall on high streets declined by 19.6% in November (Yo2Y), 1.3 percentage points below last month’s rate and above the 3-month average decline of 20.3%.
- Retail parks saw footfall decrease by 4.1% (Yo2Y), 3.7 percentage points below last month’s rate and below the 3-month average decline of 2.0%.
- Shopping centre footfall declined by 34.8% (Yo2Y), 1.2 percentage points below last month’s rate and below the 3-month average decline of 33.7%.
- Northern Ireland again saw the shallowest footfall decline of all regions at -5.2%, followed by England at -15.7% and Wales at -16.7%. For the fourth consecutive month, Scotland saw the deepest decline at -19.8%.
- Black Friday itself saw a decline of 23.4% (Yo2Y), however footfall was still 35.3% higher than the previous weekend (19 Nov 2021).
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief-executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “Footfall figures slipped back slightly on last month, as the harsh November weather deterred some customers from shopping instore. While footfall over the Black Friday weekend failed to match its 2019 levels, this year saw deals spread over the entire month, allowing customers to bargain hunt over a prolonged period. Nevertheless, this month’s footfall was still comparatively strong at the second highest figure for this year, only second to October. London also started to catch up with other major cities as the Christmas lights and markets kicked off the festive season, whilst Northern Ireland consumers benefitted from the high street voucher system.
“With new legal requirements on face coverings now in force in England, we ask shoppers to be considerate of one another and wear a face covering when in store. Retailers are playing their part by encouraging face coverings through store signage and other announcements. However, it is vital these new rules do not put shopworkers in harm’s way and enforcement of face coverings must remain the duty of police and local authorities. Retailers are doing everything they can to satisfy their customers, prioritising the food and other products necessary for everyone to make the most of the festive season.”
Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, commented: “We saw a slight footfall falter in November, with shopper traffic taking a nominal dip on October’s figures, however, it’s worth remembering that this is only the second time in the whole of 2021 that we’ve seen a monthly slowdown in the High Street’s recovery, as consumer confidence continues to grow and the resurgence in bricks-and-mortar builds back, slowly but steadily.
“Usually, in November we’d expect to see a boost to the High Street due to Black Friday, which traditionally marks the start of Christmas spending. However, whilst we saw footfall rise by a third (+35%) week-on-week, shopper numbers on Black Friday were still down on pre-pandemic levels by about a fifth, which maybe down to polarised flux in Christmas shopping behaviours we’re witnessing. Those who have bought early in a bid to avoid crowds and minimise risks of supply chain disruption have shopped even earlier this year, contributing to October’s boost and November’s lull; meanwhile we still expect to see those ‘last minute’ shoppers hitting the high streets in December.”
MONTHLY TOTAL UK RETAIL FOOTFALL (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
UK FOOTFALL BY LOCATION (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
TOTAL FOOTFALL BY REGION (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
|GROWTH RANK||REGION||% GROWTH Yo2Y|
|2||North West England||-10.8%|
|3||South West England||-13.4%|
|5||Yorkshire and the Humber||-14.3%|
|7||South East England||-15.3%|
|8||East of England||-15.6%|
|11||North East England||-18.4%|
TOTAL FOOTFALL BY CITY (% CHANGE WITH 2019)
|GROWTH RANK||CITY||% GROWTH Yo2Y|