UK footfall on Super Saturday (18 December) was down -26% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest data from Sensormatic Solutions, as Omicron fears keep shoppers away from the High Street.
Data from its footfall index, which captures 4billion shopper visits globally each year, has shown that while shopper counts were up +22% year-on-year (although this represents a period when parts of the country were in Tier 4 restrictions last year), the impact of the Omicron variant and rising wave of covid-19 infections on consumer confidence has ebbed away at festive footfall.
Footfall on Super Saturday – usually the busiest in-store shopping day of the entire festive season – was down -0.3% compared with the previous Saturday (11 December) and only marginally up +1% week-on-two-weeks, compared to 4 December.
“Consumer caution in the face of the Omicron wave and question marks about Christmas once again being cancelled means we’ve seen subdued shopper counts on the High Street on Super Saturday, normally the busiest in-store shopping day of the festive season,” said Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant for Sensormatic.
“And whilst the data doesn’t show a mass exodus from the High Street, it does mean that festive footfall is facing a downward trajectory, just at the time when many retailers are relying on Christmas trade to make ends meet. This will not only make uncomfortable reading, but will come as an even greater blow to retail businesses who have once again stepped up to make their store environments as safe as possible for shoppers.”
“Now retailers will be hoping that a final flurry of footfall from last minute shoppers as The Big Day approaches can help them ride out the latest wave of disruption to trading, and that the ghost of last Christmas’ lockdown doesn’t deal them yet another blow during such a critical sales period,” Sumpter concluded.