Cautious shoppers remained at home on Boxing Day, leading to a huge drop in footfall compared to last year across the UK.
Latest data from retail experts Springboard reveals overall footfall on Boxing Day in Tier 4 areas, where all non-essential retail stores are closed, dropped by 75.9% compared to the same day in 2019.
Tiers 2 and 3 – where non-essential retail remains open – saw smaller declines of 33.1% and 38.5% respectively, but Springboard says this still highlights the overall trend across the UK that people have stayed at home this Christmas.
Diane Wehrle, Springboard’s insights director, said a drop in footfall in Tier 4 was inevitable as, after spending so much time online, consumers were now experts at virtual shopping.
“They know they can enjoy the same discounts, from the comfort and safety of their own home,” she added.
The grim statistics for retail outlets followed a call from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for people to avoid Boxing Day crowds as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many areas.
Famous shopping streets were practically empty in areas such as Edinburgh and London, with only a few people on the Royal Mile and Regent Street.
But in some areas under lighter restrictions, people queued outside shops in the hunt for post-Christmas bargains.
Around 200 people were in a socially-distanced queue outside Next in Leicester by 5.50am. There were also plenty of shoppers in Bournemouth, which remains in Tier 2.
An estimated £2.7bn was spent by UK shoppers on Boxing Day, according to Barclaycard, with people spending an average £162 online.
That’s down from £3.7bn and £186 last year.
Of the 2,000 adults surveyed by Barclaycard in December, 24% said they planned to start sales shopping on Christmas Eve, up from 21% last year, while 17% said they would shop on Christmas Day – an increase on the 14% who said they would last year.