For the majority of UK retailers, a drop in footfall at the end of the summer is to be expected. But with the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 looming, some retailers are concerned that last week's -6.3% drop in retail foot traffic could be a sign of things to come.
Reason for concern
The concern isn’t that the drop occurred, it’s that it was such a significant drop.
In a recent article from The Guardian, Diane Wehrle, the insights director at Springboard, said: “The magnitude of the drop has been larger than in any previous year. This signifies the continued impact of many Britons continuing to work from home as offices across the UK remain closed.”
Increased numbers of citizens working from home means less people out and about. Naturally, this could impact in-store shopping. Unless COVID-19 shows serious signs of remission, or if a vaccine becomes available, most offices will likely stick with the work-from-home strategy.
As a result, don’t expect day-to-day traffic to increase any time soon.
E-commerce is also down
E-commerce is also down in the UK, so the drop in brick-and-mortar foot traffic may just be a sign of overall decrease in consumer spending.
According to Insights data, e-commerce revenue is down to nearly its lowest point for 2020. Although it’s still up 26% YoY, considering the massive peaks it reached in late spring, this could signal the winding down of a trend.
Perhaps it’s the seasonal lull, or perhaps customers are waiting for the holiday shopping season. Either way, it appears consumer spending is temporarily down.
Expect these numbers to come roaring back during the holidays, however, and continue checking in to Insights for updates.