High street footfall increased as consumers looked to do more than shop on Black Friday

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Black Friday Shopping Begins On Thanksgiving Evening
Footfall on Friday rose by two per cent compared to Black Friday last year. (Source: Getty)

High street footfall had a shocking Black Friday comeback as British consumers looked for an "experience" with their shopping trip, new research suggests.

Online sales fell well below expectations, increasing just 6.7 per cent and failing to meet both the forecast of 25 per cent and the 31 per cent rise in 2015.

At the same time, high street footfall was up 2.8 per cent Friday and 1.2 per cent Saturday year-over-year, outperforming a forecasted five per cent drop.

Read more: Black Friday: Customers of this lender are spending £32,000 a minute

The study by Springboard reported footfall fell most significantly in shopping centres, which dropped 4.4 per cent on Saturday because a lack of diverse leisure options, said Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard.

While shopping, consumers want to have the option of visiting the cinema, sitting down for a coffee or eating out at a restaurant, Wehrle said, while doing their functional retail shopping online.

Online sales were below expectations because consumers are used to discounting and are buying more carefully.

Read more: Britons set to spend £2bn this Black Friday

"Consumers are more savvy than we think they are," Wehrle said, adding that shoppers take a cynical approach to shopping now because they know they can find discounts later on.

Cyber Monday offers another opportunity to boost online sales, but Wehrle said they won't go up by more than a few percentage points.

Read more: Black Friday: These are the top selling items at John Lewis right now

Cyber Monday, which started as the main day of sales for online retailers, has been amalgamated into Black Friday as it expanded to a week of sales or more for some retailers.

Wehrle said many retailers finished their sales Sunday and won't carry on to Cyber Monday.

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