“Consumers are paying less attention to Black Friday” as dire footfall forecasted

Retail intelligence expert, Springboard, has forecasted that Black Friday will do little to help struggling retailers in what has been a challenging year of trading.

Footfall across bricks and mortar retail destinations is anticipated to decline by 4.5 per cent on Black Friday with high streets being the hardest hit with a drop of 5.5 per cent.

This is according to latest data from retail intelligence expert, Springboard. It follows a decline in footfall on Black Friday over the past two years, revealing the UK’s appetite for this pre-Christmas spending spree may be wavering. 

Footfall declined by 5.4 and 3.6 per cent in 2018 and 2017 respectively – this low comparable would usually lend itself favourably for this year. However, Springboard forecasts that consumers are unlikely to make trips to stores to shop despite Black Friday falling a week later on payday weekend this year.

The prevalence of discounting from retailers throughout the year, combined with the scepticism surrounding whether Black Friday discounts are better than those being offered generally, means that consumers are paying less attention to this period as a whole.

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard, commented: “For those who do choose to shop on Black Friday it seems that the decision will be more about ensuring product availability in advance of Christmas rather than securing the lowest price!”

Consumers are aware that many discounts are increasingly made available online rather than in-store, however Springboard recognises that even spending online is likely to be muted over Black Friday. IMRG is forecasting a rise in online sales over the entire Black Friday period of just +2-3 per cent but highlighted that there is a very real possibility that spending could be flat.

Over the last six months footfall has been more suppressed than last year. From May to October, footfall dropped by 2.4 per cent. High streets have been particularly hard hit over the past six months, with footfall declining by 3.4 per cent versus a drop of just 0.9 per cent from May to October 2018.

Ms Wehrle added: “These results reflect the low confidence of consumers that has been impacting on their willingness to spend throughout the year. Consumers are increasingly favouring experience and leisure based trips over retail shopping. Given the ongoing uncertainty in the run up to the general election, this is unlikely to change over Black Friday weekend.”