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Retail Footfall During Bank Holidays

May is almost here, with three bank holidays throughout the month, due to the additional day for King Charles’ coronation. Bank holidays are traditionally strong days for retailers, as people head to malls instead of work, go out for lunches, and take advantage of the extra day to catch a flight abroad.

We can turn to the effect of the Easter long weekend to see how the May bank holidays may impact retail footfall. Retailers benefitted massively from Good Friday and Easter Monday in April, aided by good weather.

Key takeaways from Easter:

  • Travel explodes around bank holidays. Airport retailers and holiday-relevant suppliers must prepare.

  • Children’s retail leads in increased footfall on Bank Holidays as parents look for fun activities.

  • Weather consistency dramatically impacts people’s desire to head to the shop.

  • Midday is the busiest time for most retailers – but early morning and late evening are below average, as fewer people need to head in-store before or after work.

  • Bank holiday purchases are usually impulse buys.

Footfall changes across the weekend

Graph showing footfall changes through Easter weekend, broken down into retail sectors

Across the board, all sectors saw an uplift across Friday and Monday when compared to the previous week. Retailers for children saw the most considerable increase as parents headed into the mall to celebrate the extra days from school.

Most retailers saw a higher footfall increase on Monday, possibly due to the more consistent weather than the rest of the weekend. Saturday was only slightly above average, and Sunday suffered massively as most retailers closed their doors for the day.

Footfall throughout the day

Graph showing the average hourly footfall fluctuations, broken down into retail sectors.

Throughout the day, retailers peaked on average around 1 pm. All retailers started to see the bulk of their footfall between 10am-5pm, but children’s retailers stayed well above average until 8 pm.

Tech had the most unstable footfall levels and experienced a significant dip in footfall around 1 pm when all other retailers were well above average. The lack of uplift here can be primarily attributed to people shopping for a fun activity rather than coming to stores with a planned purchase – consumers are less likely to consider an impulse tech buy compared to apparel or children.

This is largely echoed by telco, which attracted only slightly higher levels – the Easter weekend was one for impulse buys.


Graph showing footfall at Gatwick and Manchester Airports over the Easter bank holiday weekend

Over at the check-in desk, airports all experienced a big jump in footfall. This began with a significant spike in the early hours of Good Friday and then another increase on Sunday, presumably to return home. Manchester Terminal 1 experienced the most significant footfall increase, experiencing a 27% increase in footfall across the weekend.

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