Revealed – The busiest shopping days of Christmas 2020

Sensormatic Solutions has released the annual ShopperTrak predictions of the top five busiest UK shopper traffic days for peak trading 2020.

Based on its footfall index, which captures 40 billion shopper visits each year, Sensormatic’s data has revealed that discounting shopping days will be key in driving shoppers to the High Street, with sales events driving three out of the five top busiest in-store shopping days of the entire peak trading period.

UK’s Top 5 busiest days of peak trading 2020

1.     28 November 2020 – Saturday after Black Friday

2.     28 December 2020 – Monday after Christmas (public holiday)

3.     19 December 2020 – Super Saturday (last Saturday before Christmas)

4.     12 December 2020 – 2nd Saturday before Christmas

5.     26 December 2020 – Boxing Day

While Black Friday itself falls out of the top five busiest peak trading days, the Saturday of the Black Friday weekend (28 November) is anticipated to be the busiest day for Christmas shopper traffic in 2020.  Having shifted from a single day of discounting to a longer sales event, footfall on Black Friday itself has fallen in recent years – in 2019 it fell -6% year-on-year.

However, the halo effect in shopper traffic around extended Black Friday markdowns can still be seen – especially as shoppers are expected to start Christmas shopping earlier this year for fears of local lockdowns and out-of-stocks.  This is expected to make the rise in footfall on the Saturday after Black Friday (28 November) particularly pronounced.

Discounting events and the sales will also play a more prominent role in boosting shopper numbers in bricks-and-mortar retail settings the year; Monday 28 December (the public holiday after Boxing Day) is expected to be the UK’s second biggest in-store shopping day of the Christmas period, while Boxing Day (26 December) is also predicted to be the fifth busiest day of the festive shopping season.

With the impact of coronavirus expected to negatively impact UK GDP, falling by -11.5% in 2020 according to the OECD, and warnings that a ‘disorderly’ no-deal Brexit could risk further long-term damage to Britain’s recovery, economic and political uncertainty are playing a role in suppressing consumer confidence.

Indeed, original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Sensormatic showed that price was the top consideration for 48% of British consumers when choosing to shop in-store, reaffirming the importance of discounting events, such as Black Friday and the Boxing Day sales, in unlocking demand and bringing customers into store.

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic’s Retail Consultant for Europe, Middle East & Africa, commented:

“This year, more so than ever, retailers’ performance during peak trading will be critical and, despite the digital acceleration we have seen during the pandemic, the physical store remains integral to that success.  While this usually means improving in-store experiences to drive sales, customer retention and brand engagement, what constitutes good CX for Christmas 2020 will be, like many things this year, very different than usual.  We expect to see customers shopping less frequently in-store but with more purpose, making each visit more valuable than ever.”

After price, Sensormatic’s research revealed that product availability was the second most important consideration for UK consumers when Christmas shopping (21%), followed by store cleanliness and hygiene measures (17%).

By leveraging insight from shopper traffic trends, retailers can optimise staff scheduling, inventory fulfilment and even loss presentation awareness, allowing them to make the most of the sales opportunities presented by peak trading.  Understanding “power hours” (the busiest times of the day within a store) also helps retailers identify the best times for staff to undertake essential tasks, such as restocking inventory, conducting increased cleaning protocols or managing click and collect orders, leaving them free in the busy times to focus on customer service delivery.

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