Retail footfall dipped for the first time in two months last week driven by Brits shunning high streets and continuing to shop online despite the lifting of Covid restrictions, according to new data released today.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics, and supplied by Springboard, show the volume of total retail footfall slid two per cent in the week to 21 August compared to the previous week.
This was the first weekly fall since the week to 19 June of this year.
The slight dip in consumers heading to physical retail stores has been partly driven by Brits maintaining newfound online shopping habits adopted during the Covid crisis.
Most retail locations were forced to shut amid pandemic-induced lockdowns, prompting shoppers to switch to buying goods online.
Latest data from the ONS shows the proportion of retail sales conducted online stands at 27.9 per cent, significantly higher than the 19.8 per cent registered in the month before the onset of the Covid crisis.
“Footfall in high streets saw the greatest decrease of two per cent, while footfall in retail parks and shopping centres both saw slight decreases of one per cent, compared with the previous week,” the ONS said.
Retail sales unexpectedly dipped over the last month, down 2.5 per cent in July compared to June of this year. Meanwhile, credit and debit card spending was near pre-Covid levels in the week to 19 August, down one percentage point to 94 per cent from the previous week.
Concerns about catching the more transmissible Delta variant of Covid may have also deterred consumers from heading to physical retail stores where the risk of transmission is higher compared to shopping online.