Footfall across retail stores throughout the UK decreased by 5.4% during Black Friday. This is according to a report by Springboard, leading experts in retail analysis after they compared figures from this year with the event in 2017. The report also shows that there was a decrease in shoppers venturing into towns, cities, and shopping centres on both Saturday and Sunday. This is despite many retailers offering large discounts as part of Black Friday weekend.
Are shoppers rejecting the shopping experience?
The data shows that shopping centres performed the worst over the event. The total footfall across centres declined by 8.3% on Black Friday itself and did not fare much better over the weekend. Highstreets, meanwhile saw their total footfall drop by only 4%. It is thought that the difference in performance between the shopping centre and the high street could be due to the fact that towns offer more when it comes to hospitality outlets than centres. It could be argued that the figures demonstrate that shoppers are turning their backs on the madness of Black Friday, at least when it comes to making actual visits to stores.
Internet sales increase
Contrasting figures for internet sales over the Black Friday weekend show a remarkable increase. Online transactions measured up to 4 pm on Black Friday itself increased by 46% based on figures from 2017. This is despite many online sales being offered for a week running up to the big event, as well as many remaining open over the weekend. It can be assumed, therefore, that there was the desire to take part in the event itself and make the most of the sales. It just seems that not as many people wanted to actually physically participate. Shoppers are increasingly choosing to shop online for the convenience and to escape the queues and crowds that Black Friday has been associated with in the past.
Many retailers chose to respond to the decrease in footfall by lengthening the duration of their sales. Outlets have prolonged sales that were due to end after the weekend into Cyber Monday, a day known traditionally as the biggest day for internet sales in the entire year. Not only have they prolonged their sales, but many have actually increased discounts. Lovethesales.com has reported that the volume of discounts available on the high street on Cyber Monday was 4% higher than on Black Friday itself. It could be said that many retailers are disconcerted in the decreases in sales over the popular shopping weekend. It will be interesting to see how they will respond when the event comes around again next year and how this will affect retail recruitment.