Shopper numbers steadily improve across locations

Shopper numbers begin to climb back
Shoppers walk through Soho on January 29, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Total UK footfall has seen a 1.2 percentage point improvement in March from the previous month, according to the BRC-Sensormatic IQ data.

While the shopper numbers decreased by 15.4 per cent in March when compared to the corresponding pre-pandemic figures in 2019, this is better than the 3-month average decline of 15.9 per cent.

Footfall on High Streets improved by 3.1 per cent from February, Retail Parks by 5.1 per cent and Shopping Centres, 4.3 per cent.

“While all UK shopping locations enjoyed higher footfall levels than earlier in the pandemic, shopping centres saw a significant improvement for the first time in 2022, as shoppers browsed multiple stores in preparation for the summer season,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium (BRC), said.

Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, noted that retail footfall trends might begin to settle down as retail resets after two years of the pandemic.

“With the High Street’s recovery hitting its best performance since October and UK shopper traffic tracking ahead of its European counterparts, retailers’ optimism will be met with a healthy dose of realism,” he added.

“While covid-19 restrictions maybe loosening, the nation’s belts may start to tighten as the impact of the cost-of-living squeeze and price inflation accelerates, and the knock-on effect of the energy cap rise and increased National Insurance contributions this month remain unknown as they look ahead into April and beyond.

“However, while price sensitivity may be growing among UK consumers, spending and brand loyalty seem to be ‘stickier’ in-store, with our recent research showing over a third were less price sensitive when shopping in-store compared to when they bought items online, and half felt more loyal to the bricks-and-mortar brands they shop with.”