Forecast for UK footfall on Black Friday 2021

Nov 23, 2021

Croydon, UK

Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s Marketing and Insights Director provides a forecast for footfall in retail destinations across the UK over the Black Friday Weekend 2021.

Over the past eight years since the first Black Friday event in the UK in 2013 there have been as many years when footfall on that day declined from the year before as it has increased; ranging from a high of +9.8% in 2014 to a drop of -5.4% in 2018.  In 2020 – with England in the midst of a lockdown and the rest of the UK subject to restrictions – footfall on Black Friday was -60.4% lower than on Black Friday 2019, a sharp contrast to the year before when trading conditions were normal and footfall was +3.3% higher than on Black Friday 2018. 

With retailing now back to full throttle, and shoppers having been deprived of the opportunity to visit bricks and mortar destinations in the run up to and over Christmas last year, Springboard’s Insights & Marketing Director, Diane Wehrle, is anticipating that footfall will increase by +7.9% in the week of Black Friday from the week before. The increase in shopper activity is also likely to be a consequence of the concern around potential supply issues which could mean that unless chosen gifts are purchased early then they may not subsequently be available in time for Christmas.

Footfall trends across the Black Friday weekend 2021
On Black Friday itself, and on the Saturday and Sunday, the jump in footfall from the week before will be even higher; +19% across all destinations on Black Friday, +13% on Saturday and +11% on Sunday. High streets and shopping centres will be the clear winners in terms of the uplift in shopper numbers, as consumers make the most of the opportunity to grab Christmas presents early to ensure they don’t suffer from any supply shortages but also soak up the Christmas spirit that was so absent last year.

Croydon, UK

Black Friday trends across all retail destination types
Footfall in high streets on Black Friday is forecast to be +20% higher than in the previous week, +24% higher in shopping centres, and +6% higher in retail parks.

The lower growth in activity on retail parks than in high streets and shopping centres is inevitable as they start from a much higher base (in October footfall in retail parks was just -3.1% lower than the 2019 level whilst it was -15% lower in high streets and -20% lower in shopping centres). However, retail parks will continue to appeal to shoppers due to the compelling discounting offered by electrical and homeware retailers that is a key feature of Black Friday, together with their accessibility and free parking, which makes it easy and convenient for shoppers to click and collect online purchases.

The uplift in footfall will continue through to Saturday and Sunday in all three destination types, albeit to a slightly lower degree than on Friday.  Over the three days from Black Friday to Sunday footfall in high streets is forecast to be +17% higher than on the same three days in the previous week, +19% higher in shopping centres and +4% higher in retail parks.

The anticipated uplift in shopper activity on Black Friday this year means that over the three days from Friday to Sunday footfall is forecast to be +107.5% higher than on the same three days in 2020. However, the magnitude of the drop in footfall since Covid means that over the three days footfall will still be -14.4% lower than in 2019. In retail parks, however, we expect footfall to be just -2.9% below the 2019 level across the three days and virtually level with 2019 on Friday (-0.7%).