Sensormatic Solutions, the global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, has shared its initial shopper traffic data from UK retail stores and shopping centers for this Black Friday. The brand’s analytics revealed that shopper visits decreased by -3.1% this Black Friday, 24 November, compared to 2022, as shoppers shifted Black Friday spend to earlier discounting events as well as taking advantage of the extended deals and promotions being offered by retailers.
In further detail, Sensormatic Solutions data from its Sensormatic IQ platform, which captures 40 billion shopper visits globally each year, showed that while Black Friday footfall -3.1% compared to 2022, the discounting event did deliver a week-on-week boost to shopper traffic, rising +52.4% compared to the Friday prior (Fri 17 November, 2023). While High Streets and Shopping Centres saw yearly declines in shopper traffic, Retail Parks defied the year-on-year Black Friday footfall decline, with store visits rising +1.9% compared to 2022. This could be attributed to the mix of both big box and discount retailers making up their retail offer, giving shoppers a ‘one stop shop’ for Black Friday deals.
With PwC anticipating that consumer spending on Black Friday will fall by a quarter, dropping from £7.1billion in 2022 to £5.6billion in 2023, cost-of-living pressures, along with the event falling ahead of regular monthly paydays, likely impacted shopper demand on Black Friday. Additionally, according to Sensormatic, consumers have also opted to shop earlier to spread the cost of Christmas. Original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Sensormatic in its annual UK Retail Shopper Sentiment Report showed that 70% had already started Christmas shopping ahead of the Black Friday weekend, while over half (55%) planned to shop earlier to spread the cost of Christmas over more paydays, rising to 61% of Millennials.
Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic Solutions’ EMEA Retail Consultant, commented: “For many retailers Black Friday remains one of their biggest discounting events of the year, but it seems the advent of Black Friday no longer marks the start of Christmas shopping for consumers.
“In a bid to make squeezed household budgets work harder, we’re seeing shoppers starting gift buying earlier to spread the cost of Christmas. Additionally, new and earlier discounting events, such as Amazon Prime’s Big Deals Day in October, and extended promotional periods offered by retailers, are also bringing festive spend forwards. Many retailers, including Amazon and Argos, started Black Friday sales a week ahead of the ‘official’ date, but some retailers, including Currys, were already offering deals from the beginning of November, extending discounts to win share of wallet and that coveted Christmas spend.”
While consumer appetite to shop in-store on Black Friday itself appears to be waning, the Saturday of the Black Friday weekend (Sat 25 November 2023) is still expected to be the 3rd busiest day for footfall during 2023 peak trading, according to the annual predictions compiled in Sensormatic’s Europe’s Busiest Christmas Shopping Days report. It expects ‘Super Saturday’ (23 December), the last Saturday before Christmas, to be the busiest in-store shopping day of the entire 2023 peak trading season, rising from the UK’s 3rd busiest day for Christmas shopping in 2022.
The research was conducted on behalf of Sensormatic Solutions by Savanta, which polled over 1,000 UK adult shoppers for Sensormatic Solutions’ 2023 UK Retail Shopper Sentiment Report. The survey was conducted online in September 2023.