The latest Springboard data reveals that overall footfall on Boxing Day in Tier 4, where all non-essential retail stores were closed, declined by -75.9%. Tiers 2 and 3, where non-essential retail remained open, saw a smaller decline in footfall of -33.1% and -38.5% respectively, but this, nonetheless, highlights the overall trend across the UK that people have stayed at home this Christmas.
Covid-19 continues to seriously damage the UK retail sector, and the new Government restrictions, which came in to effect on Boxing Day, have added to what has already been a severely difficult year for retailers, says Springboard.
Boxing Day saw an overall decline in footfall across all UK retail destination of -60%, while retail parks saw a decline in footfall of -45% versus -65.4% in shopping centres and -63.3% in high streets.
In coastal towns, footfall declined by -40.2%, and market towns saw a decline in -52.2%, indicating that areas of the UK are still shopping local, but this is in stark contrast with regional cities where footfall fell by -72.2% and Central London where footfall plunged to -84.1% on Boxing Day, YoY.
The ongoing closure of hospitality outlets in Tier 3 locations - which account for 54.7% of total footfall - will mean that trips to stores will not have the same degree of appeal for shoppers – consequently, a proportion of shoppers in these locations are likely to opt for the convenience of online shopping, hence the drop in footfall in Tier 3 of -38.5% versus -33.1% in Tier 2 locations.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, comments: “Boxing Day has been attracting less retail footfall each year in five of the past seven years, as shoppers turn online to grab the best bargains. Interestingly, Boxing Day has been evolving into more of a leisure-based day, with shoppers starting their trips later on in the day, and combining shopping trips with eating out and catching up with family and friends. The closure of hospitality in the Tier 3 and above means shoppers have remained at home and footfall has declined significantly.
"We undoubtedly expected a drop in footfall due to the closure of non-essential retail in Tier 4, however it is evident that the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic are continuing to make retail destinations less attractive across Tier 2 and Tier 3 as well. This year, after spending so much time online, consumers are now experts at online shopping, whereby they know they can enjoy the same discounts, from the comfort and safety of their own home.”