The latest insights from retail analysts MRI Software (previously Springboard) show footfall on Boxing Day rose year on year by +2.3% across all UK retail destinations up until 3pm, largely driven by high streets (+6.5%). However, full day results reveal that footfall still remained -22.1% lower than last year across all UK retail destinations.
Notably, Central London was the only town type to experience an increase in footfall, with a 12.9% rise versus 2022.
Week on week, footfall was -32.9% lower across all destination types monitored by MRI Software (high streets, retail parks and shopping centres). Shopping centres and retail parks witnessed a more severe decline of-34.8% and -47.5% from the same day in the week before.
Rise of Online Shopping Hitting Bricks and Mortar retail
Compared to 2019 levels, footfall remains -33.8% lower, indicating the continued impact of the rise of online shopping, the close proximity of Black Friday deterring further spend and the potential restrictions of the cost of living crisis.
Historical data from MRI Software’s OnLocation Footfall Index (from 2014 to 2022, excluding the Covid years 2020 and 2021), highlights that footfall in the week following the final trading week before Christmas tends to witness a week on week drop averaging -20%, which is to be expected given the significant boost observed in the week prior.
Jenni Matthews, Marketing and Insights Director at MRI Software comments: “It was encouraging to see Boxing Day footfall rise year on year by +2.3% across all UK retail destinations up until 3pm, however it wasn’t enough to bridge the gap between the figures last year in 2022.
“The footfall drop of -32.9% week on week across all destination types is not surprising given that last week consumers were finalising their festive shopping. The fact that compared to 2019 levels, footfall remains -33.8% indicates the long-term impacts of the continued rise of online shopping, as many consumers may have started their sale shopping on Christmas Day evening, and with Black Friday only a few weeks ago many will have grabbed their bargains back then. We also can’t forget that many people may be tightening their purse strings given the cost of living status, or may still be spending time with their families on Boxing Day and not be heading out to stores and destinations until later in the week.
“Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the week pans out for retail as we close out 2023.”