The number of shoppers hitting the high street fell on Black Friday as they turned to buying online and as retailers spread their discount deals throughout the week.
Footfall on high street pavements was down more than four per cent on Black Friday, compared to the same time last year the earliest figures reveal, according to retail analyst Footfall.
Separate figures reveal the number of shoppers hunting for a bargain online on Black Friday rocketed 270 per cent compared to the average shopping day in the UK, and ahead of the busiest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday.
"There seems to be a real loss of consumer appetite for Black Friday compared to last year. Of course, this could be an indication that people are simply switching their buying behaviours and going online to secure a deal. However, the drop in visitors in store can also be attributed to retailers’ changing their Black Friday strategies and extending the promotional event beyond a single day of discounting," said UK Footfall director Steve Richardson.
Overall, the earliest figures from Footfall indicate traffic in stores dropped three per cent across the week compared to last year, while a similar drop is expected across the shopping weekend and through to Cyber Monday.
While shopper numbers are on the downward spiral, the spending figures across the now-extended bonanza shopping period are expected to jump on last year.
Black Friday spending in store and online is predicted to surpass the £1bn for the first time. The numbers are still being totted up by retailers, but Amazon said it sold 86 items per second creating the ecommerce giant's biggest ever shopping day, surpassing the previous record of last year's Black Friday, and despite spreading its deals across the week.
Cyber Monday spending could be even bigger, with some analysts pegging spending at £3bn.