Retail intelligence experts Springboard predicts that over the six weeks from Sunday 22nd November to Saturday 26th December, footfall across all UK retail destinations will be -62.0%.  National lockdown restrictions will now see retailers miss out on the start of essential weeks of Christmas trading as non-essential retail remains closed until 2 December at the very earliest. Springboard warns that if the national lockdown is extended throughout December, footfall could drop by more than -80% – the magnitude of decline at the height of the pandemic in April.

Traditionally, Springboard data from 2017-2019 highlights that retailers begin to experience an uplift in footfall from Christmas shopping in the first week of November, rising on average by 3% per week so the lockdown measures are catastrophic for the retail industry. However Springboard recognise that the greatest uplift in footfall is usually seen in December with an average rise of 11.4% in week 51 of the year, the last week of trading before Christmas, therefore it is essential for non-essential retailers to be reopen and trading by this date.

Prior to the lockdown announcement, a survey of 1,000 shoppers nationally identified that 61.2% of consumers intended to spend more online whilst only 20.4% look to spend more from bricks and mortar stores. The latest lockdown restrictions will now see online shopping as the only option for consumers throughout the month of November with online channels more important than ever before for retailers. These latest findings have been taken from the Springboard-AL Marketing ‘Unwrapping Christmas with Covid 19’ report.

In a year like no other, 63.5% of Brits intend to spend less on Christmas this year than last year, with only 1 in 10 people intending to buy more presents, as there will be more focus to ‘stay home’ to enjoy family time as a third of shoppers intend to spend more on food and groceries which continue to be open and available.


Year on year % change in footfall
Week Beginning UK High Streets  forecast UK Retail Parks  forecast UK Shopping Centres  forecast All UK Destinations forecast
22/11/2020 to 26/12/2020 -70.3% -42.8% -63.3% -62.0%
27/12/2020 -52.2% -21.7% -41.7% -42.3%

This year, Christmas Day falls on a Friday and Boxing Day on a Saturday. The long term trend is for footfall on Boxing Day to decline each year due to the growth in online spending and shift towards leisure based rather than shopping focussed trips on this day.  This year, due to the ‘Rule of 6’ which limits the size of social gatherings and the growth in online spending, Springboard forecasts that decline will be proportionately greater as it is likely that the weekend of Boxing Day (Saturday) and 27th December (Sunday) will be used by many families to meet with those they were not able to see on Christmas Day.  The fact that a third of shoppers intend to spend more on food and groceries this year reflects this.

Post-Boxing Day, footfall is likely to bounce back as it will be the first opportunity for many shoppers to head out to stores after spending time with their families. This will lead to a marginal improvement in footfall in the week beginning Sunday 27th December, with a decline of -42.3% across all retail destinations from -62% over the five weeks to 26th December. Footfall in high streets will strengthen to -52.2% (from -70.3%) to -41.7% in shopping centres (from -63.3%) and to -21.7% in retail parks (from -42.8%).

Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard commented: “The national lockdown restrictions will now see our struggling retailers miss out on the start of essential weeks of Christmas trading, including Black Friday weekend as non-essential retail remains closed until 2 December at the very earliest. Although restrictions may ease in December, this is by no means guaranteed as the second wave of covid19 ripples throughout the UK. Most consumers are likely to have completed a vast amount of shopping online in advance and may well have fears of returning to bricks and mortar stores, however, retailers need to be given the opportunity to reopen ahead of Christmas.”

Key findings of the Springboard/AL Marketing ‘Unwrapping Christmas with Covid 19’ report.

  • 68.6% intend to start Christmas shopping earlier in case of queues and Covid19 restrictions
  • 63.5% intend to spend less on Christmas this year than in 2019
  • 62.8% intend to spend more in smaller/local stores this year
  • 20.4% intend to spend more in stores this year
  • 61.2% intend to spend more online for Christmas this year
  • 10.3% intend to buy presents for more people this year than last year
  • 35.9% will spend more on food and groceries for Christmas this year
  • 49.8% are not interested in Black Friday
  • 65.1% will shop online on Black Friday more than in stores
  • 14.6% will make a special trip to visit stores on Black Friday