Springboard: consumers defer Christmas shopping trips to last minute

Consumers are not only deferring shopping trips until the last minute, but are leaving it even later than last year to finish their Christmas purchases.

According to data from retail intelligence expert Springboard, footfall between Sunday (December 17) and Wednesday (December 20) rose by 20.3% from the same four days in the previous week – compared with a rise of 14.5% over the Sunday to Wednesday period in 2016.

This follows on from the previous three weeks, which saw an average week-on-week footfall percentage change of just 0.6% compared with 3% in the same three weeks last year.

The biggest shifts have been in retail parks, where footfall rose by 25.2% over the week (up 10% year-on-year) which, Springboard said, is likely to be a reflection of shoppers visiting for click and collect deliveries.

Footfall in high streets also rose over the week, by 17.4% compared with 11.8% last year. Springboard said this increase reflects high streets’ ‘success in providing an improved eating out/experience offer’.

In contrast, footfall in shopping centres rose by 22% over the week – only marginally more than the figure of 19.2% last year. Springboard suggested this result indicates that malls have ground to make up if they are to capture a greater proportion of shoppers over this key trading period.

But despite the uplift from last week, footfall is still significantly lower so far in this last trading week before Christmas, dropping by -7.1% year-on-year overall.

Retail parks have been the most resilient, but footfall in those locations still declined by -3.6%. Springboard said this is a strong indication that shoppers are not only more cautious but that the Black Friday period shifted demand forward.

Springboard predicts a marginal drop in footfall overall for Boxing Day of -1.3%. Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director, said: “Given the poor footfall results for the Christmas trading period recorded so far, we’re forecasting a further but marginal drop in footfall on Boxing Day of -1.3% which, in an environment of declining footfall, should give retailers a glimmer of optimism.

“Also, given the discounting that is likely to place online from Christmas Day, we’re anticipating that footfall will rise by 2% in retail parks as shoppers will be keen to collect online purchases and enjoy them over the Christmas break. Footfall in retail parks will also be bolstered by food shoppers looking to restock after the weekend and two days of Christmas.”


Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle

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