Brick-and-mortar retailers hoping to attract customers with Black Friday sales this year might have been disappointed as data reveals footfall was down in November compared to the previous month and also compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Total UK footfall decreased by 15.7% in November compared to 2019, with a 2 percentage point decrease from October, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Sensormatic IQ monitor.
Footfall on high streets declined by 19.6% in November when compared to two years ago, while retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 4.1%.
Shopping centres took a major hit, with footfall falling by 34.8%.
Black Friday, which fell on 26 November this year, saw a decline of 23.4% compared to 2019. However footfall was still 35.3% higher than the previous weekend.
“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,” said Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions.
“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," he said.
“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 last minute shoppers hitting the high streets in December.”
He also said it is worth noting this is only the second time in the whole of 2021 that there has been a monthly slowdown in the high street’s recovery. Overall, consumer confidence continues to grow and the resurgence in bricks-and-mortar is building back slowly but steadily.
Helen Dickinson, CEO at British Retail Consortium, said “the harsh November weather” may have deterred some customers from shopping instore.
But she said November’s footfall was comparatively strong at the second highest figure for this year, only second to October.