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Festive footfall to start rising early as shoppers heed supply chain disruption warnings

Tom Bottomley
30 September 2021

Traditional festive footfall spikes are expected on Super Saturday – the last Saturday before Christmas - and on 23 December, but footfall is expected to start rising earlier this year as shoppers plan to get ahead amid warnings of supply chain disruption.

New research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Sensormatic Solutions shows 79% plan to start Christmas shopping before the beginning of December, and just 9% will leave it until December to start making festive purchases.

With the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and many retailers, including John Lewis and Iceland, already warning of Christmas stock shortages due to ongoing supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic and Brexit, consumers are expected to shop earlier than usual to avoid out-of-stocks and “shelf gaps”.

Predictions from Sensormatic’s ShopperTrak footfall index, which captures over 40 billion shopper visits globally each year, tips Super Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas which this year falls on 18 December, as being the busiest UK in-store shopping day of peak trading for 2021. Last year Brits spent an estimated £1.6bn on Super Saturday as they hit the high street to buy gifts.

The day before Christmas Eve, 23 December, will be another day of bumper trading, as will the first two Saturdays in December, falling on the 4th and the 11th, and Saturday 27 November – the first Saturday after Black Friday.

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic Solutions’ Retail Consultant for EMEA, whose team predicts the top busiest days of the peak trading period, said: “Our predicted busiest days mark the peaks of in-store traffic, but we expect that like last year consumers will start their shopping earlier to offset inventory limitations, shipping delays and ongoing concerns about social distancing.

Bjoern Petersen, President at Sensormatic Solutions, added: “While COVID-19 is still making headlines as we head into peak trading, vaccine availability and retailers’ health and safety measures have put us in a different place with many consumers more comfortable shopping in stores compared to the 2020 Christmas shopping season.

“Through this busy time, retailers can lean heavily on innovative technology to keep shelves stocked. Leveraging prescriptive insights provided by connected solutions, retailers can also ensure they’re reaching the right consumer with the right item at the right time throughout the season.”

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