Boxing Day footfall dips amid pre-Christmas discounting and rail strike disruption

Data from Sensormatic’s footfall index, which captures 40billion shopper visits globally each year, showed that yesterday, Boxing Day (26 December), retail footfall dropped -23.6% year-on-year, as extensive pre-Christmas discounting dulled shopper motivation to hit the Boxing Day sales in-store and the ongoing rail strikes caused disruption to shoppers.

Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant at Sensormatic, commented:

“With UK retailers offering extended periods of discounting pre-Christmas, with many competing on discounting and promotions in a bid to lure the lucrative Christmas trade, we saw shoppers head out in force to bag bargains before Christmas, rather than choosing to brave the Boxing Day sales.”

Before Christmas, the High Street saw surges of festive footfall in the lead up to the Big Day, with High Street shopper traffic on Super Saturday (17 December) jumping to +15% year-on-year and 7% week-on-week.

Meanwhile, Frenzied Friday (23 December) saw a significant boost to shopper counts, as shoppers sought to wrap up Christmas gift shopping before the rail strikes kicked in on Christmas Eve.  This prompted total UK retail footfall to rise +51.3% year-on-year on Frenzied Friday.

While industrial action across the rail networks may have contributed to an overall Boxing Day dip in UK retail footfall, several cities defied the disruption with London, Glasgow and Birmingham seeing upticks in year-on-year shopper traffic.


Boxing Day Year-on-year footfall change
London +11.1%
Birmingham +9.5%
Manchester +7.9%


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