High Streets Initiative · 19 December 2017

Christmas shoppers will switch from clicks to bricks this Panic Thursday

High street footfall is likely to peak on 23 December
High street footfall is likely to peak on 23 December

High street footfall is expected to rise by 60 per cent on the daily UK average this Panic Thursday, as shoppers head to physical stores to complete their Christmas gift buying.

21 December will mark Panic Thursday – the day when consumers traditionally abandon online purchases in favour of bricks and mortar shops, in a bid to finish buying presents before Christmas Day.

In the final run up to Christmas, footfall on the high street is expected to peak on “Super Saturday” – the last Saturday before Christmas Day – which this year falls on 23 December. On that day, UK high street footfall is expected to reach up to 63 per cent on the daily average.

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Data from retail sector analysts ShopperTrak also predicted average high street footfall figures for other popular shopping days this coming Christmas period.

Due to Sunday trading, high street footfall is likely to be lower on Christmas Eve than on Super Saturday this year. The data predicts that on Christmas Eve, in-store footfall will be up 35 per cent against the daily average.

Commenting on the statistics, ShopperTrak director for the UK and MEA region, Steve Richardson, said: “Panic Thursday marks the start of the steady build-up of in-store footfall as we head towards the big day, with shopper traffic on ‘Frenzied Friday’ (December 22) up 37 per cent on the daily average and Super Saturday (December 23) up 63 per cent on the daily average.”

Panic Thursday

21 Dec

Frenzied Friday

22 Dec

Super Saturday

23 Dec

Christmas Eve

Sunday

24 Dec

Boxing Day

Tuesday

26 Dec

Footfall vs the daily average +60 per cent +37 per cent +63 per cent +35 per cent +6 per cent

“With fears that online orders will not reach consumers before Christmas Day, shoppers will step out from behind their screens and take to the high street to finish off their festive gift buying in physical stores.

Taking place on 21 December, the high street will see a 60 per cent increase in footfall on Panic Thursday, as shoppers swarm in to stores.”

“Interestingly, the day of this online to off-line shift has changed, moving from Panic Tuesday last year to Thursday this year, as consumers have become more confident about retailers’ ability to fulfil online deliveries and click-and-collect orders.

“Indeed, some retailers are offering to fulfil click-and-collect deliveries in time for Christmas Day for orders placed as late as 9pm on 23 December.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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