UK retail footfall across all retail destinations is set to jump by 7.9% in the week leading up to Black Friday compared to the previous week, according to new forecasts.
The weekend will clock up the biggest rise, with footfall peaking on Black Friday, which falls on 26 November this year. Footfall on the day itself is expected to rise by 19%, according to retail intelligence experts Springboard.
The surge will continue into the weekend with rises of 13% on Saturday and 11% on Sunday.
Shopping centres are likely to be busy on Black Friday with the greatest uplift in footfall due to their wider selection of retail offerings — experiencing a jump of 24%.
High streets and retail parks will also see footfall rise by 20% and 6% respectively as Brits hunt for bargains at the discount shopping event.
“High streets and shopping centres will be the 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 feel that was so absent last year," said Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard.
"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 anticipated uplift in shopper activity on Black Friday weekend 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 when the UK was facing a second lockdown and further pandemic-related restrictions.
However, footfall will still be 14.4% lower than on the same three days pre-pandemic, in November 2019.
In 2020 footfall on Black Friday was 60.4% lower than on the same day 2019, a sharp contrast to the year before when trading conditions were normal and footfall was 3.3% higher than on Black Friday 2018.
The experts at Springboard also pointed to "concern around potential supply issues" as a reason for the surge in shoppers heading out on Black Friday this year. People may feel that "unless chosen gifts are purchased early then they may not subsequently be available in time for Christmas," said Wehrle.