Welcome World Cup footfall boost to Black Friday

Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, today released footfall data for UK retail stores on Black Friday.  These results are informed by retail traffic data analytics within the company’s intelligent operating platform, Sensormatic IQ.  Findings indicate that shopper visits resulted in a +3.7% increase in traffic across all retail settings on Black Friday, November 25, compared to 2021, with High Streets performing strongly, up +13.9% year-on-year.

Data from the Sensormatic IQ platform, which captures over 40 billion store visits each year globally, also showed that shopper traffic on Black Friday to retail stores was +32.9% higher week-on-week.

Despite some warnings that the rising cost-of-living could dampen consumer appetite for Black Friday, retail sales were boosted by shoppers seeking out pre-Christmas deals, with Barclaycard saying transactions rose 3.2% on last year yesterday, with an all-time record number of transactions taking place between 12noon and 1pm.  John Lewis Partnership customers ordered 5.5 products each second yesterday, with Apple Airpods, iPads and gaming items the top performers and fashion also performing strongly, while Boots said it saw over three orders a second made on its website on Black Friday.

“We know that price and promotions are key watchwords for shoppers this Christmas, which is prompting many consumers to start Christmas gift shopping early as they seek out the best deals and look to ‘lock-in’ prices on goods,” said Andy Sumpter, EMEA Retail Consultant at Sensormatic Solutions. “And, in a bid to bag a bargain, and make the most of the Black Friday deals available has motivated many to hit the High Street, rather than relying solely on online purchases. The +3.7% footfall uplift shows that, despite shoppers’ comfort with alternative fulfillment methods in the wake of COVID-19, they haven’t forgotten the benefits of the bricks-and-mortar experience.”

However, while UK footfall on Black Friday was up compared to 2021, it remains down -21.3% on pre-pandemic levels.

World Cup football scores a Black Friday footfall boost for UK retailers

While footfall across all UK retail settings saw a +3.7% year-on-year jump on Black Friday, shopper traffic counts in England rose +5.7% year on year, with England’s second match of the FIFA 2022 World Cup giving shopper numbers a welcome boost.  The impact was less marked in Wales, were footfall remained up +3.2% compared to 2021, as it took on Iran yesterday.

“In what could have caused some disruption to retailers’ Black Friday campaigns, the World Cup matches for the England and Wales teams provided a welcome boost to retail footfall yesterday – so while fans might not be that happy with the results of the football itself, retailers can at least be pleased with footfall performance the World Cup matches delivered,” Sumpter commented.

Globally, the impact of the word cup on retail traffic has had mixed results.  Brazil, for example, saw footfall drop by -37.5% on Thursday – the third lowest level of the year so far – as football fans shunned the shops to watch Brazil’s first match of the World Cup.  Similarly, Portuguese footfall fell by -15% year-on-year on Thursday as shoppers tuned into watch their team win 3-2 win against Ghana.

Looking ahead

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, Sensormatic Solutions expects holiday traffic to be distributed differently than in recent years. While this deviation is unlikely to affect overall volume, retailers may need to adjust their approach to account for an earlier Super Saturday than usual.

“The last time Christmas fell on a Monday was back in 2016,” Sumpter continued. “That means historical data will be crucial to retailers as we head into December.  Retailers with robust analytics in place will find themselves at an advantage throughout the rest of the Peak Trading season.  Being able to examine what worked – and indeed what didn’t – will help them design promotions, staff their stores, and keep track of inventory in the crucial final weeks of 2022.”

This challenge may be compounded by the uptick in customers planning to shop in person this year compared to 2020 and 2021.  Sensormatic Solutions’ consumer sentiment survey found that over half (51%) of shoppers surveyed intend to do at least some of their shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores.  The same survey revealed that price and availability would be top of mind for shoppers and that 79% of Christmas shoppers will have already started Christmas shopping by the start of December.

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